Who Are the Top-Selling Brazilian Artists at Auction?

Vik Muniz tops the list by cumulative value.

Vik Muniz.Photo: Patrick McMullan.
Vik Muniz.
Photo: Patrick McMullan.

More than a hundred galleries will set up shop next week at the 12th edition of SP Arte, in São Paulo, Brazil. The fair’s national focus is strong, with some seventy percent of the galleries coming from within the country, so the fair provides a temperature check on the market for Brazilian artists.

Ahead of the fair, which runs April 7-10, we offer some statistics on the top-selling Brazilian artists at auction over the last ten years, organized by total dollar amount of works sold. Since volume doesn’t tell the whole story, we also give their average auction price as well as details on their highest prices to date.

Vik Muniz, The Sugar Children: Valentina, the Fastest; Jacynthe Loves Orange Juice; Big James Sweats Buckets; Lil’ Calist Can’t Swim; Valicia Bathes in Sunday Clothes; Then Ten’s Weed Necklace (1996)

Vik Muniz, The Sugar Children: Valentina, the Fastest; Jacynthe Loves Orange Juice; Big James Sweats Buckets; Lil’ Calist Can’t Swim; Valicia Bathes in Sunday Clothes; Then Ten’s Weed Necklace (1996)

1. Vik Muniz
Total: $34.4 million on a whopping 802 works.
Average: $42,896
Top price: $293,000, achieved at Christie’s New York in November 2015 for a six-part photograph of depictions of children whose parents worked on sugar plantations on the island of St. Kitts, in the West Indies, portrayed in sugar.

Sergio Camargo, Untitled (Relief No. 21/52), 1964

Sergio Camargo, Untitled (Relief No. 21/52), 1964

2. Sergio Camargo
Total: $27.2 million on 82 works.
Average: $331,921
Top price: $2.2 million for Untitled (Relief no. 21/52), a 1964 abstraction. It nearly quadrupled its high estimate of $600,000 when it sold at Sotheby’s New York, in November 2013.

Beatriz Milhazes, Meu Limão (2000)

Beatriz Milhazes, Meu Limão (2000)

3. Beatriz Milhazes
Total: $25.8 million on 73 works.
Average: $353,045
Top price: $2 million, for Meu Limão (2000), an acrylic painting measuring some ten feet wide, sold at Sotheby’s New York in November 2012, more than doubling its $900,000 high estimate.

Adriana Varejão, Parede com Incisões a la Fontana II, 2001

Adriana Varejão, Parede com Incisões a la Fontana II, 2001.

4. Adriana Varejão
Total: $15.3 million on 37 works.
Average: $413,431
Top price: $1.8 million for Parede com Incisões a la Fontana II (Wall with Incisions à la Fontana), a 2001 work that nearly quadrupled its high estimate of about $482,000 when it came to auction at Christie’s London in February 2011.

Candido Portinari, Meninos soltando pipas (1941)

Candido Portinari, Meninos soltando pipas (1941).

5. Candido Portinari
Total: $11 million on 58 works.
Average: $189,391
Top price: $1.4 million for Meninos soltando pipas (1941), at Christie’s New York in May 2013, which sold just above its high estimate.

Lygia Clark, <i>Contra Relevo (Objeto N. 7)</i>, 1959

Lygia Clark, Contra Relevo (Objeto N. 7), 1959.

6. Lygia Clark
Total: $9.5 million on 13 works.
Average: $728,084
Top price: $2.2 million, for Contra Relevo (Objeto N. 7), 1959, which nearly tripled its high estimate at Phillips New York in May 2013.

Alfredo Volpi, <i>Bandeirinhas estruturadas</i> (ca. 1966).

Alfredo Volpi, Bandeirinhas estruturadas (ca. 1966).

7. Alfredo Volpi
Total: $7.9 million on 28 works.
Average: $283,833
Top price: $842,500, more than doubling the high estimate for Bandeirinhas estruturadas (ca. 1966), at Christie’s New York in November 2011.

Emiliano di Cavalcanti, Mulher deitada com peixes e frutas (1956)

Emiliano di Cavalcanti, Mulher deitada com peixes e frutas (1956).

8. Emiliano di Cavalcanti
Total: $7.5 million on 81 works.
Average: $92,249
Top price: $886,000, for Mulher deitada com peixes e frutas (1956), which sold within its estimate at Christie’s New York in November 2000.

Mira Schendel, <i>Sem titulo (Objeto gráfico)</i>, ca. 1967-68.

Mira Schendel, Sem titulo (Objeto gráfico), ca. 1967-68.

9. Mira Schendel
Total: $6 million on 73 works.
Average: $82,445
Top price: $845,000, fetched by Sem titulo (Objeto gráfico), ca. 1967-68, nearly tripling its high estimate of $300,000 at Sotheby’s New York in May 2014.

Fernando and Humberto Campana, <i>Sushi Sofa</i> (2003).

Fernando and Humberto Campana, Sushi Sofa (2003).

10. Fernando and Humberto Campana
Total: $5.6 million on 240 works.
Average: $23,209
Top price: $253,000, for Sushi Sofa (2003), at Phillips de Pury & Co., New York, in December 2007.

Helio Oiticica, <i>Metaesquema (Dois brancos)</i>, 1958.

Helio Oiticica, Metaesquema (Dois brancos), 1958.

BONUS:
Helio Oiticica
Though the relatively low number of Oiticica’s works results in his coming in only at number fourteen, no list of top Brazilian artists would be complete without him.
Total: $3.2 million on 20 works.
Average: $160,587
Top price: $362,500, for Metaesquema (Dois brancos), 1958, a gouache that tripled its high estimate of $120,000 at Christie’s New York in November 2010.


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