Sotheby’s

New York’s Latin American art auctions got off to a strong start for Cuban artists with the Monday evening sale at Sotheby’s. Throughout the evening, a solid lineup of modernist masters turned in impressive results.

A trio of Cuban heavy hitters—Mario Carreño, Amelia Peláez, and René Portocarrero—led off the evening, with Carreño’s 1943 gouache Cuarto Fambá achieving its pre-sale estimate at $86,000. (All figures are in US dollars and include buyer’s premium.) Portocarrero’s 1960 oil, Interior del Cerro, did even better, its $134,500 price surpassing the high estimate of $90,000 by a hefty margin.

Amelia Peláez, Still Life, 1945
Courtesy Sotheby’s

But the evening’s dark horse winner turned out to be Peláez, whose 1945 Still Life went for $314,500, substantially more than the pre-sale high estimate of $220,000.

Two works by Wifredo Lam, Untitled (Figura Vegetal), 1950, and Charbon de Mer, 1945, scored well within their pre-sale estimates, at $254,500 and $542,500 respectively. A 2000 painting by Tomás Sánchez, La Espera, estimated at $300,000-$400,000, also sold well at $338,400.

Sotheby’s Latin American sale continues tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., followed by Phillips de Pury at 4 p.m. and Christie’s at 7.