Merida, Rivera, and Dieguez highlight Moran's Latin American Art + Design sale

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Merida, Rivera, and Dieguez highlight Moran's Latin American Art + Design sale
Lot 92 will present another Rivera work, “El Niño Del Taco [Boy With Taco],” 1932, estimated $6,000-8,000.

MONROVIA, CALIF.- Discover the vibrant colors and rich cultural heritage of Latin America at the Latin American Art + Design sale presented by John Moran Auctioneers on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024. Featuring 130 lots by renowned artists from North, Central, and South America, this auction showcases the bold compositions of Rufino Tamayo to works by Diego Rivera, Carlos Mérida, and José Sabogal Dieguez. Explore a selection of Spanish Colonial furniture and decorative objects, including carved Christos, crucifixes, and santos. Adorn yourself with timeless elegance with our collection of Mexican silver craftsmanship by Spratling, Pineda, Aguilar, Los Castillo, and Margot de Taxco.

Leading the highlights of fine art is lot 48, Abstracted Figures, 1952, by the Guatemalan Mexican artist, Carlos Merida. Merida (1891-1984) grew up in a culturally rich environment, influenced by Guatemala’s indigenous Mayan heritage and vibrant artistic traditions. As an artist, Merida can best be described as a synergist. His studies abroad in Europe, his ties to Mexican muralists, his travels and exhibitions in the United States, and his quest for commissions all melded into a singular artist style and voice. As one of the premiere Latin American artists of the 20th century, Carlos Merida was inspired and interested in almost anything artist ranging from painting to murals to printmaking, theater production, and interior design. Abstracted Figures, 1952, will make its way to block with a $7,000-9,000 estimate.

Back in December 2023, in their last Latin American Art + Design sale, Moran’s offered work by the Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, Men working the field outside a dwelling, 1935, that achieved a price realized of $41,275. Rivera (1886-1957) was a prominent Mexican painter whose large frescos helped establish the mural movement in Mexican and international art. Lot 92 will present another Rivera work, “El Niño Del Taco [Boy With Taco],” 1932, estimated $6,000-8,000.

Representing Peruvian art will be works by Jose Sabogal Dieguez and Enrique Galdos Rivas. Dieguez (1888-1956) emerged as a prominent figure in Peruvian art. His artistic journey took him to Europe, where he was influenced by avant-garde movements. Returning to Peru, he championed the indigenist movement, celebrating the country’s indigenous culture. His bold use of color and attention to subjects captured the essence of Peruvian life and landscapes. This sale will offer multiple works by Dieguez, one of which is lot 62, “Cosco Paya-Cuna (Chisme),” 1926, estimated $6,000-8,000. Lot 63 will present work by the contemporary artist, Enrique Galdos Rivas, “Pintura Marzo,” 1965, estimated $4,000-6,000. Rivas (b. 1933) is a Peruvian painter and engraver who became part of the select group of Latin American artists leading abstractionism. One of the defining characteristics of Rivas’s art is his unique ability to blend traditional Peruvian motifs and symbolism with Modernist artistic techniques. Drawing inspiration from indigenous cultures, colonial history, and modern society, his paintings often feature a striking juxtaposition of ancient iconography with abstraction. Rivas’s use of wild and vivid colors earned him the nickname, “The Magician of Color,” and he has been noted as a progenitor of the genre of painting known as “Ancestralism,” where cultural iconographies are processed through Modern or Abstract Expressionist sensibilities.

Lots 147 and 148 come from Roger Edward Kuntz (1926-1975), a highly accomplished Southern California landscape painter and member of the Claremont Group of painters. In 2009, the Laguna Art Museum had a retrospective exhibition of his work, “Roger Kuntz: The Shadow Between Representation and Abstraction,” and in the exhibition catalogue, curator Susan M. Anderson wrote: “Kuntz’s work of the late 1950s and early 1960s quintessentially embodied the experimentation, fragmentation, and paradox in American culture of the time.” The same could be argued with his work done in Mexico during this time. With estimates ranging $3,000-6,000, this auction will offer his works, Village Square (Puerto Vallerta), and Mitla Mexico.

Highlighting the decorative offerings are lots 149, 156, and 214. Lot 149 will present a near pair of Mexican Chapel Sanctuary doors, estimated $2,000-3,000. Together, both doors have six high-relief carved scenes (three on each) and feature Saint Luke, Saint Isaac, Saint Mark, Saint John, Saint Christopher, and Saint Matthew. Estimated $2,500-3,500, lot 156 is a Spanish tabletop Vargueño from the late 18th century designed with iron handles and hinges, a locking mechanism, and eleven drawers, one of which features a panel depicting Santa Apolonia. Collectors are sure to take notice of lot 214, a stunning 8-piece Mexican sterling silver coffee and tea service, estimated $3,000-5,000.

This sale will include well over 100 lots of Mexican silver jewelry including pieces by Hector Aguilar, William Spratling, Antonio Pineda, Los Castillo, and Margot de Taxco. Lot 241 is a noteworthy design by Carmen Beckmann. A chunky Mexican silver hinged cuff with multiple bezel-set fire opal cabochons, is estimated $800-1,200.

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