31 October 2017

Phillips Announces Latin American Highlights from the Fall Auction Season in New York

Works by Eielson, Cruz-Diez, Sánchez, Darié, Herrera, and Oiticica to be Offered in November


NEW YORK – 31 OCTOBER 2017 – Phillips is pleased to announce highlights of Latin American art from the upcoming auction season. On Tuesday, 21 November, the Latin America sale will feature 85 works that span the 20th and 21st centuries, with works by Jorge Eielson, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Zilia Sánchez, and Sandú Darié, among others. Preceding the dedicated Latin America auction is Phillips’ Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art on 16 November, which will include works by contemporary masters Carmen Herrera and Hélio Oiticica.

Kaeli Deane, Phillips’ Head of Latin American Art, Americas, said, “We are delighted to bring together a fresh and exciting group of Latin American artworks across our November auctions. At Phillips, we have consistently worked to break down the barriers between Latin American Art and international Modern and Contemporary Art, and the upcoming sales are no exception. We are proud to champion underrepresented artists, such as Jorge Eielson and Zilia Sánchez, alongside blue-chip names like Carlos Cruz-Diez and Fernando Botero, thereby continuing our mission to broaden the market in the same manner we have for artists like Lygia Clark and Carmen Herrera in the past.”

Latin America | 21 November, 11am Among the highlights of the Latin America auction is Jorge Eielson’s Quipus 30B. When living and working in Paris and Rome, Eielson became closely acquainted with artists like Cy Twombly, Alberto Burri and Mimmo Rotella. His own work, however never fully aligned with any one movement, eschewing formal association with Minimalism and Conceptualism, while simultaneously containing elements of both. Quipus 30B is from the artist’s seminal body of work: the quipus, a name harkening back to Eielson’s Peruvian identity and literally referencing an ancient Incan recording system in which various types of knots were used to measure and record data. In this series—of which the present lot is an important example—Eielson would knot, twist and braid pieces of fabric that he would use to overlay or incorporate with traditional stretched canvas. Eielson’s development of an independent visual lexicon would catch the attention of the international art community, leading to an invitation to exhibit his quipus in the 1964 Venice Biennales. This auction marks the first time a work by Eielson has been featured as a cover lot in a major auction, showing Phillips’ continued strength in pioneering new artists within the Latin American art market, much in the way the company has for artists like Lygia Clark and Carmen Herrera in the past, both of whose auction records were set in Phillips’ sales. A major retrospective opening at the Museo de Arte de Lima on 16 November 2017 will catapult Eielson to his deserved place within art history by finally investigating and acknowledging his groundbreaking contributions to modern art.

Also offered in the Latin America auction is Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Physichromie No. 558, executed in 1971. Cruz-Diez began producing Physichromies early in his career in 1959 and continued to produce them throughout his lifetime, due to their infinite variations and astounding innovative nature. In this series Cruz-Diez breaks down color into a myriad of spectra by adding colored strips to his radiating silk screen productions. Viewer participation through movement is required to fully engage with these works, allowing the work to continually evolve in conjunction with the change of lighting throughout the day. In 1970, Cruz-Diez began producing Physichromies in monumental formats that were able to achieve an unprecedented visual impact and range of color, one of which was exhibited in the 1970 Venice Biennale. The present lot—spanning close to 100 inches and producing the full color spectrum—is a continuation of his Venetian masterpiece. When observing and moving around Physichromie No. 558, the viewer becomes entranced by the intense colors radiating from every angle. It is no surprise that at 94 years of age, Cruz-Diez not only continues to be a leading and active figure in the Kinetic and Op art movements, but we also see how his work has inspired a younger generation of artists like Olafur Eliasson, who create pieces that similarly explore light and form.

Zilia Sánchez’s Topologías eróticas, 1970 is also among the highlights of the auction on 21 November. In 1952, Sánchez exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris and in 1953 had her first solo exhibition at the Havana Lyceum. During this period, she traveled extensively between Havana, New York and Madrid, finding inspiration in a myriad of artists, such as Lucio Fontana and Eva Hesse, as well as her Cuban contemporaries, Amelia Peláez and Sandú Darié. Soon Sánchez began creating works that employed canvases tightly stretched over hand‐molded wooden armatures, of which the present lot is a seminal example. These works explore the juxtaposition between feminine and masculine through formal abstraction and a distinctively sensual vocabulary. Sánchez broke free from the rectangular expectations of the painted canvas, yet she did not adhere strictly to Concrete art, like many of the male artists from this period in Cuba. The present lot is amply proportioned, featuring a curved form in a rosy skin-like hue that is immediately evocative of the female form with its undulating curves and smooth surface. Unlike her contemporaries, Sánchez has never been fearful of referencing the body in her abstract works, creating powerful pieces that incite lust and deep sentiment in viewers. She is among the artists currently included in the Hammer exhibition Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985.

Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art | 16 November, 5pm
After setting the world auction record for Carmen Herrera in the November 2016 Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Phillips is pleased to include two works of Latin American art in the upcoming auction – Carmen Herrera’s Untitled (Orange and Black) and Hélio Oiticica’s P31 Parangolé, capa 24, Escrerbuto. The movements and oeuvres of these artists are inextricably linked with those of their transnational peers and a discussion of 20th century and contemporary art would be incomplete without noting the tremendous contributions of Latin American artists. Painted in 1956, Untitled (Orange/Black) (illustrated right) is among the first mature paintings Carmen Herrera created upon returning to New York from Paris two years prior. A remarkable example of the asymmetrical and intuitive arrangement of forms characteristic of her New York period, the dichromatic painting is testament to the modular, almost mathematical process of combining and rotating triangular forms that Herrera initiated in 1956 with works such as the present one. Sidelined as a female Cuban immigrant in the context of the Abstract Expressionist, male-dominated New York art world, it is only recently, due in part to her 2016 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, that Herrera has been accorded her due place within the annals of post-war abstraction.

Created in 1972 during Hélio Oiticica’s seminal New York years, P31 Parangolé, capa 24, Escrerbuto brilliantly exemplifies the pioneering Brazilian artist’s immersive and experiential art practice. The present work is a salient example of Oiticica’s infamous Parangolés, which Oiticica created between 1964 and 1979 with the goal of engendering what he called “lived experiences” through the spectator’s wearing of the cape-like wrap. It is testament to the art historical significance of this work that it was celebrated in Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium, the artist’s first U.S. retrospective in twenty years that travelled from the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, to the Art Institute of Chicago and, most recently, to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, between 2016 and 2017. While Oiticica has long been highly regarded in Latin America and in Europe, it has in large part been due to this retrospective that Oiticica’s far-reaching influence on performative and socially-engaged art practices has finally been given its due reverence in the United States.