Top 10: Latin America



Friday is Top day! Every other Friday, Artprice publishes a theme-based auction ranking. This week: the best ten bids ever recorded for Latin American artists under 50.

Top 10: Latin America
Rank Artist Hammer Price Artwork Sale
1 Felix GONZALEZ-TORRES $4,000,000 Untitled (Portrait of Marcel Brient) (1992) 08/11/2010 (Phillips de Pury & Company NEW YORK NY)
2 Beatriz MILHAZES $1,800,000 « Meu Limäo » () 14/11/2012 (Sotheby’s NEW YORK NY)
3 Adriana VAREJAO $1,527,980 « Parede com Incisões a la Fontana II (Wall with Incisions a la Fontana (2001) 16/02/2011 (Christie’s LONDON)
4 Felix GONZALEZ-TORRES $1400000 Untitled (Aparicion) (1991) 10/05/2011 (Sotheby’s NEW YORK NY)
5 Beatriz MILHAZES $1,245,680 « O Elefante Azul (The Blue Elephant) » (2002) 27/06/2012 (Christie’s LONDON)
6 Beatriz MILHAZES $1,153,728 Dança dos Reis (1998) 12/10/2012 (Sotheby’s LONDON)
7 Adriana VAREJAO $1,000,610 « O Milagre dos Peixes (Miracle of the Fishes) » (1991) 25/06/2013 (Christie’s LONDON)
8 Adriana VAREJAO $975,000 Trois Petites Morts (2003) 14/11/2012 (Sotheby’s NEW YORK NY)
9 Beatriz MILHAZES $957,840 « O Moderno » (2002) 27/06/2011 (Phillips de Pury & Company LONDON)
10 Felix GONZALEZ-TORRES $950,000 Untitled (Welcome) (1991) 08/11/2010 (Phillips de Pury & Company NEW YORK NY)


Successful Latin American artists in the market have seen their records rise still further in a few months time. regularly keeps up with the « hottest » names in this market, who sell not in their own countries but in London and New York, and are as keenly pursued by Latin American collectors and investors as by leading collectors in the USA and Europe. The key players in the market are keeping a close eye on developments, because Latin America is one of the major emerging marketplaces, and the current state of affairs does not depend only on the rise of the artists themselves –to whom the top auction houses have been strategically devoting sales for the last three or four years (since 2009 with Phillips de Pury & Co., and 2010 with Sotheby’s). Because, apart from the growing reputation of Latin American artists, a structural change is also under way: a cultural and economic ferment that is increasingly stimulating the rest of the world. This excitement is due to the new Meccas in contemporary art, including temporary events like Mexico’s contemporary art fair ZonaMaco, which celebrated its tenth edition in 2013 with over 35,000 visitors, and the fascination exerted by Inhotim, the famous giant open air museum combining a botanical garden with monumental works by Olafur ELIASSON, Paul MCCARTHY, Giuseppe PENONE and Yayoi KUSAMA, among others. Meanwhile, a number of key influencers in the market (leading galleries) and top auction houses are eyeing Brazil. Christie’s is extremely interested in developments there, because it is thinking about opening a local sale room, after its branches in Shanghai and Mumbai.

For the moment, posting record sales in its London and New York rooms is enough for Christie’s, as is for Sotheby’s and Phillips. The highest prices in Latin American contemporary art sales systematically go to Olafur ELIASSON, Beatriz MILHAZES and Adriana VAREJAO, today’s top-rating artists under 50.

Cuban artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres dominates the great names in the genre, with three bids of over a million, peaking at $4 million for his pile of sweets: a consumable portrait of Marcel Brient. Beatriz Milhazes may not have such an impressive track record, but she still achieved three results of over a million during 2012 – a recent show of enthusiasm that may well presage further heights. The youngest, Adriana Varejao, confirmed her place among the leaders in the market with the million dollars she garnered at a London sale in June.