Christie’s Auction Banks On Wifredo Lam’s $4 Million Masterpiece ‘La Réunion’
By CultureBanx Team
- Christie’s auction house is spotlighting Wifredo Lam’s masterpiece La Réunion with presale estimates between $3M - $4M
- A portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat by Andy Warhol will be auctioned off with an estimate in excess of $20M
Christie’s auction house is spotlighting Black artists and works inspired by them, with the gem being Wifredo Lam’s masterpiece La Réunion. Lam’s presale estimate is between $3 million and $4 million. Other highlights of its evening auction of 20th-century art include a portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat by Andy Warhol, with an estimate in excess of $20 million. How important are these milestones to help move black artists into the mainstream art spotlight?
Why This Matters: Born in 1902 to an Afro-Cuban mother and a Chinese father, Lam’s post-war work draws upon his diverse background, often incorporating African motifs alongside Western style. One of his paintings from this period, The Jungle, 1943, is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Another 1943 work, OMI OBINI, holds a price record at auction for the artist, which fetched US$9.6 million at Sotheby’s New York in June 2020.
In the last couple of years art museums have dedicated approximately 8% of all their exhibitions to the works of African American artists. The same percentage represents the number of Black artists that are shown by New York City galleries. Having a lack of representation for artists is one thing, but this could be due to the lack of diversity behind the scenes. Only 4% of museum curators, conservators, educators and leaders are African American.
What’s Next: The U.S. contains the wealthiest art collectors in the world and the most art buyers worldwide, holding the highest global share in the auction market at 38%. The second largest market share belongs to China at 29% as of 2020. Auctions like these tend to fuel some frustration, as there are some people who argue real collectors can’t get in because it’s too hard to compete with the global billionaires. Christie’s evening sale of 20th-century art including Lam’s pieces will be held in New York on November 11.
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