Diego Rivera works go under hammer at Latam art sale

Thu May 13, 2010 11:26am EDT
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By Karina Ioffee

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A painting by Mexican artist Diego Rivera that has not been seen in public for more than 50 years and works by some of Latin America's biggest artists will be up sold at auction later this month.

The sale at Sotheby's will feature a total of 245 pieces, including Wilfredo Lam's "Sur Les Traces", which could fetch up to $1.8 million and "The Ordeal of Owain" by British painter Leonora Carrington who now lives in Mexico. It has an estimated sale price of $600,000 to $800,000.

"The selection of the sale is really high quality ... including a fantastic surrealist section," said Carmen Melian, director of Latin American art at Sotheby's, adding it was the first auction house to start selling art from the region.

Art experts believe the Latin American art market could benefit from recent record-breaking auctions which marked a resurgence for the beaten-down art market after an 18-month stumble.

Jasper Johns' pop art painting "Flag" from a collection that belonged to best-selling author Michael Crichton sold for a record $28.64 million on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" sold for more than $106 million at Christie's, setting a record for art sold at auction.

Melian said Latin America countries, such as Brazil, Peru and Chile, are bucking the economic trend, meaning prospective buyers are ready to spend.

"Fifty percent of our buyers are from Latin America and are in a position to contemplate discretionary spending," she explained.   Continued...