Live on Artnet Auctions: This masterful painting by Wifredo Lam captures the richness of Cuban modernist heritage


Wifredo Lam’s cubist-inspired lyrical surrealist style is unmistakable. As the son of a Chinese father who emigrated to Cuba and a Congolese mother originally from Taíno, Lam’s art naturally fused distinct visual and spiritual cultures. Multicultural Cuba provided the vernacular that it digested to capture the character of the Americas.

His Untitled (ca. 1972) is now available in “All in Americas: Spotlight on Cuba” on Artnet Auctions, a sale presented in partnership with Raphael Castoriano who celebrates the most sought-after artists from the American continents. The work depicts a subject integral to Lam’s story: the family.

Executed to 1972, Untitled recalls the pyramidal compositions of the Holy Family of the Italian Renaissance. But it is also inspired by the Afro-Cuban religion of Lam, the Lucum, or Santería. The ghostly and polymorphic inhabitants of this painting first appeared in his “Morgana ” drawings from 1940 to 1942. Here they are evoked on canvas in oil paintings, seemingly merging both man and beast, their forms emerging from a misty, earthy plane of umber and earth. his.

Lam’s graceful linework has yet another influence: the Indian ink painting he practiced with his father, a scribe and calligrapher for the Chinese community in Cuba. In style and substance, this work represents Lam’s own family and the intersectionality of his heritage.

Famously, of course, while in Europe, Lam worked with Pablo Picasso, absorbing the influence of Cubism. Lam’s magical elements of surrealism were applauded by the father of the surrealist movement, André Breton. Such intersections with European modernism give Lam’s work its enduring international appeal.

Wifredo Lam’s works consistently sell for more than their high estimate, signaling increasing demand.

In recent years, several high profile exhibitions have boosted the growing Lam market. A traveling retrospective began at the Center Pompidou in Paris in 2015, then at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid and at the Tate Modern in London. As international audiences develop an even more voracious appetite for surrealism, Lam is poised to rise even higher.

Over the past six years, Lam’s works have consistently exceeded their high auction estimates, as his star has soared in renowned post-war and contemporary art sales. Lam’s value hit an all-time high in 2020, when his work Omi Obini (1943) sold for over $ 9 million. This work, estimated between $ 250,000 and $ 350,000, offers the unique opportunity to collect a piece authenticated by the artist as its market continues to rise.

As with all Cuban masterpieces, solid provenance and documentation is crucial for collectors seeking to acquire Lam’s paintings, as his growing fame has led to many imitations. Untitled (ca. 1972) appears in the Artist’s Catalog Raisonné, and is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity issued by Lam’s late wife, Lou Laurin-Lam. Don’t miss the rare opportunity to add a distinctive Lam painting to your collection: bid onAll in Americas: Spotlight on Cuba “is online until October 6.

Do not hesitate to contact the specialist for this work, Johannes vogt, for any questions or concerns.

Contemporary Art Manager

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