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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Exhibited

    Madrid, Centro Cultural Casa de Vacas, Olga de Amaral: Strata, 2007
    Tel Aviv, Eretz Israel Museum, Olga de Amaral: Golden Fleece, 2008

  • Catalogue Essay

    This stunning and sculptural textile, Umbra 53, 2007, by
    Colombian Olga de Amaral is undoubtedly an extraordinary
    example of her ravishing, and innovative tapestries. These
    tapestries have come to represent the boundless possibilities
    of materials and artistic language used in her oeuvre. Shortly
    after studying textiles at Cranbrook, she returned to Colombia
    and began rediscovering the peasant crafts as well as the
    different looms and materials they used, a finding that led her
    to start her textile studio. It wasn’t until a trip to Peru that she
    began exploring the aesthetics of textiles in Andean and
    Pre-Columbian cultures, much in the same way many
    Western artists had studied and found inspiration in paintings
    and frescoes. For Amaral the Baroque altar churches in that
    region—with their dense, golden, and ornate features—were
    reminiscent of the importance of gold in the Pre-Columbian
    cultures, and as a result the Andes occupy a privileged place
    in Olga’s artistic territory. This trip also inspired her to test
    different fibers, woven strips, and braided variations that
    would lead her to a life-long study and understanding of the
    feel of fiber, the magic of texture, and the chromatic
    possibilities of prepared and natural dies. This exploration
    enabled her to extend the way she used threads and fibers.
    Soon after she began incorporating gold leaf into the texture
    of her work and weaving heavy surfaces on to pre-woven rolls
    of fiber, like the one we see here in the present lot. This
    incredible work also follows the large formats Amaral has
    often experimented with, a scale that reflects a boldness that
    enabled her to achieve ingenious visual forms of textiles with
    consistent textures, into which she has even incorporated
    horsehair and plastic. The sculptural proportions of this work
    are achieved by the sheer volume and scale of it. The result
    are cutting-edge elements that ultimately communicate the
    “grace of [these] full-scale works, resulting in the synthesis of
    a language which gave her tapestry a new ‘fine-arts’ quality”
    (L. Smith Edward, ed., Olga de Amaral—The Mantle of
    Memory, Somogy: Paris, p. 35).

  • 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

A Selection of Colombian Contemporary Art to Benefit Vivarte


Umbra 53

linen, gesso, acrylic and gold leaf
59 x 39 3/8 in. (149.9 x 100 cm)
Titled, signed and dated "Unbra 53 Olga de Amaral 2007" on the reverse.

$140,000 - 180,000 

Sold for $449,000

Contact Specialist
Kaeli Deane
Head of Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1352

Latin America

New York Auction 18 November 2015 6pm