Wilfredo Lam painting sells at auction for $4.5 million

A painting by Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam sold for a record-breaking $4.5 million at auction:

Cuba artist Lam fetches record price
Cuba artist Lam fetches record price

A PAINTING by Cuban surrealist artist Wifredo Lam fetched a record personal price at a Latin American art sale at auctioneers Sotheby’s in New York.

An unnamed South American collector paid $4.5m for Lam’s 1944 Idol (Oya/Divinite de l’Air et de la mort), well above the $2m-3m guide price. Demand was also high for Venezuelan artists, such as Armando Reveron. But Diego Rivera’s 1939 painting Girl in Blue and White, considered the main attraction, remained unsold.

3 thoughts on “Wilfredo Lam painting sells at auction for $4.5 million”

  1. Was the Wilfredo Lam sale legit? I know that Cuba’s patrimony is being sold to the highest bidder.

  2. Somebody has far more money than artistic discernment, unless this was bought as an investment with an eye towards future sale at significant profit.

  3. Lam has long been overrated, but he is a big name or brand in “Latin” art, and plenty of rich people will pay huge sums for suitable trophy pieces. Many art collectors have much deeper wallets than taste, and not a few buy art as a financial commodity that happens to have social cachet. Anyhow, there are inaccuracies here. Lam had a Chinese father and a black mother, yet his Asian half is typically largely ignored. His artistic career was primarily European, despite the heavy emphasis on “negritude” in his oeuvre. He spent relatively little time in Cuba as a mature artist, and that was the result of his fleeing Europe due to war issues. He left Cuba for good before Castro took over, establishing himself in France. Thus, he never really had to deal with the “revolution” or work under its control, and he opted for a fashionably correct and very European posture toward the regime (which naturally used that to its advantage).

    In my opinion, there have been better Cuban artists, albeit considerably less famous internationally and consequently much less pricey. Lam was helped by his exotic ethnicity and subject matter and by being in the right place at the right time with a marketable product, as well as having extremely advantageous connections, including Picasso. Obviously, he could hardly be faulted for being fortunate and benefiting from it, but to me, he’s definitely not all that.

Comments are closed.