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20th Century Latin American Art

Using a variety of approaches to figuration, Modern and Contemporary Latin American art is grounded in an early 20th century break from the conservatism of the Latin American art academies, combined with social and political commentary and the reinterpretation of European landscape and Modern art traditions. Surrealism, Geometric Abstraction, Kinetic Art, Social Realism and New Figuration are all present in the story of Latin American art today, revealing the complexity of the artists’ pursuits as well as the significance of their contribution to international Modern and Contemporary art. Imbedded in this history is the profound need to tell their personal stories, and those of their community, through expressionist and figurative art.

Our 20th Century, Modern & Contemporary Fine Art sale on June 8th  offers a selection paintings, works on paper and sculpture by artists working within and around the traditions of Latin American art. The influence of French Surrealism and Abstraction can be seen in the work of Roberto Matta, from Chile, who was closely associated with these movements during the years around World War II. Matta’s Sentimento Apocalipto de Panico Intellectuale (Lot 541), from 1950, is a fine example of his Surrealist work from this period. In Juan Del Prete’s Abstracion. Lineas Rectas y Curvas (Lot 540), from 1948, we can clearly see the influence of Cubism and Constructivism. Nicaraguan painter Armando Morales worked with both figuration and abstraction in his work. The influence of New York’s Abstract Expressionists can be seen in both Reclining Figure(Lot 542), from 1961, and Figure (Lot 543), from 1968. The reinterpretation of classical figurative art and portraiture can be seen in Eduardo Kingman’s Untitled (Lot 546), Romulo Maccio’s Semblanto Para una Cita (Lot 547) and Enrique Cantu Montemayor’s La Banista (Lot 550).

Contemporary Latin American artists are also reinventing and reinterpreting Surrealism and Modernism in works such as Mexican artist Gabriel Garza Padilla’s La Sonrisa Secreta (Lot 551), from 2004, and Sombrero de Primavera (Lot 552), from 2003, by Cuban painter Irene Sierra Carreno. Both artists work in a Neo-Surrealist style. Argentinian painter Hector Borla reinterprets the classic still life genre with his set of three Still Lifes (Lot 549), painted in a New-Realism style that is representative of contemporary Latin American art. The range of New-Realism and New-Figuration can also be seen in the work of Hugo Lugo (Lot 553), Alexis Miguel Pantoja Perez (Lots 554 and 555), and Antonio Segui, whose Ciegos en el jardin (Lot 545), from 1980, bridges the gap between early 20th century modernism and contemporary populist art. The influence of French artists like Fernand Leger, and Latin American masters like Diego Rivera can be seen in his work combined with political and historical commentary that exemplifies the complexity and importance of 20thcentury Latin American art.

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