Diego Rivera breaks record for painting sold at auction

The previous record was set by Frida Kahlo with one of her paintings, “Dos desnudos en el bosque (La tierra misma)”, being sold for 8 million dollars

Diego Rivera breaks record for painting sold at auction
"Los Rivales", by Diego Rivera - Photo: File Photo/AP
English 11/05/2018 18:09 AP Mexico City Actualizada 19:42
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Los rivales” (The Rivals) by Diego Rivera was sold last Wednesday for over 9.7 million dollars at Christie’s, setting a new record for an auctioned Latin American work of art.

The previous record was set in 2016 at the same auction house, with the painting Dos desnudos en el bosque (La tierra misma) (Two Nudes in the Forest), by Frida Kahlo. The painting was sold for 8 million dollars.

Los rivales”, which made its debut at the auction market, exceeded its original sale price, estimated between 5 and 7 million dollars. The buyer paid USD$9,762,500 for the artwork, though his identity wasn’t revealed.

The painting made in 1931 is part of the Peggy and David Rockefeller collection, which will continue to be auctioned during this week.

“’Los Rivales’ is, undoubtedly, one of Rivera’s masterpieces. When compared to his murals, which are epic in scale and symbolic content, often filled with large views and ideologically charged narratives, this painting is monumental in a different way,” said Virgilio Garza, head of the Latin American art department at Christie’s, in an interview with The Associated Press.

“The painting was made after a local festivity in Oaxaca, and it portrays a scene of regional tradition, inspired by Rivera’s love for the common folk,” the expert explained. “The strokes are deliberately loose, but the painting itself has a truly modern composition. Rivera’s brilliant use of intersecting planes creates a cinematic narrative, resulting in a Rivera in all his glory, and making him the predecessor of a modern art movement which emerged directly from America unto the world.”

He also pointed out the “impeccable” origin of the 60×50-inch oil painting, which was commissioned by Abby Rockefeller, and constituted the Mexican painter’s entry ticket to New York. “Los Rivales” was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1931 and was rarely seen in public from 1937 onwards.

The Rockefeller collection comprises works from Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Seurat, Manet, Gaugin, O’Keeffe, and Hopper, among others. All the money collected from the auction will go to charity.


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