The large auction houses have been taking an increasing interest in Latin-American art over the past few years. Last January, Phillips stated its interest in the region by developing its presence in South America (see “Phillips Boosts Latin-American Department”). In August Sotheby’s announced it was including contemporary Latin-American art in its large New York sales.
“This integration will expand the collector base for, and concentrate the broad appeal of, this dynamic and fast-growing area of collecting”, explained the company in a statement. Latin-American specialists at Sotheby’s will work with their colleagues in the contemporary art department. This innovation, however, will not alter the company from holding its bi-annual sales “Latin America: Contemporary Art Evening” and “Latin America: Modern Art Evening”.
Sotheby’s opened this department at the end of the 1970s. In its communiqué, the auction house proudly referred to having helped bring to attention the legacy of South American artists who contributed greatly to the important movements of the 20th century (including geometric abstraction, kinetic art, conceptual art and concrete art). “With the emergence and recognition of contemporary artists in Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia and Argentina, amongst others, a new interest has developed in the marketplace much in parallel with numerous surveys by museums and world-class galleries in the US and Europe”, explained Sotheby’s Axel Stein. American museums have in fact focused attention over the last few years on the work of artists like Carmen Herrera, who was of major importance to the history of modernism.
All these factors have attracted the interest of collectors, who may find their favourite artists included in the upcoming New York sales.