Olga de Amaral - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Thursday, May 10, 2018 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Caracas (acquired directly from the artist)
    Acquired thence by descent from the above

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Olga de Amaral studied fabric design at the prestigious Cranbrook Academy in Michigan. Her in-depth knowledge of textiles and weaving techniques from around the world provided a foundation for her complex artistic practice that transcends fixed genres and artistic discipline. In this ravishing work, Alquímia 80, 1989, not only is de Amaral’s manual dexterity with conventional weaving techniques apparent, but the work is also a powerful example of her mastery of fine art principles like formalism and abstraction.

    De Amaral’s distinctive sculptural textiles, like the one in the present lot, feature a meticulous layering of textured linen, coated with paint and gold leaf, resulting in intricate geometric compositions. While the arduous nature of her process is evident throughout, her chosen method of display—hanging these panels with separation from the wall—imparts movement and emphasizes the impact of light, instilling the works with an otherworldly quality.

    The present lot embodies both the universality and timelessness of the artist’s practice, qualities that have made her one of Colombia’s most renowned visual artists and solidified her place in major, international institutions.

  • Artist Biography

    Olga de Amaral

    Colombian • 1932

    At age 22 with a degree in architectural design, Olga de Amaral moved from Bogotá to the United States where she studied fiber art at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. She returned to Colombia in 1955, and in 1956 she and her husband, Jim Amaral, opened a workshop of hand-woven textiles. De Amaral's distinctive large-scale abstract woven pieces are often covered in gold and silver leaf, lending them a shimmering, almost sculptural quality in contrast to the feeling of a tapestry. Her richly textured pieces evoke the varied natural landscapes of Colombia as well as ancient pre-Columbian gold artifacts. The artist's architectural background is evident in the precise sculptural quality of her works, but de Amaral says her craft is driven by emotion and that she does not plan for particular patterns to emerge. 

    View More Works


Alquímia 80

signed, titled, inscribed, numbered and dated "598 Alquimia 80 Olga de Amaral 1989 Olga de Amaral" on a label affixed to the reverse
gesso, acrylic and silver leaf on canvas
74 1/2 x 74 1/2 in. (189.2 x 189.2 cm.)
Executed in 1989, this work is registered in the artist's archives under reference number OA0598 and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $175,000

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 16 May 2018