Who Are the Top-Selling Brazilian Artists at Auction?
Vik Muniz tops the list by cumulative value.
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.
1. Vik Muniz
Total: $34.4 million on a whopping 802 works.
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.
2. Sergio Camargo
Total: $27.2 million on 82 works.
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.
3. Beatriz Milhazes
Total: $25.8 million on 73 works.
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.
4. Adriana Varejão
Total: $15.3 million on 37 works.
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.
5. Candido Portinari
Total: $11 million on 58 works.
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.
6. Lygia Clark
Total: $9.5 million on 13 works.
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.
7. Alfredo Volpi
Total: $7.9 million on 28 works.
Top price: $842,500, more than doubling the high estimate for Bandeirinhas estruturadas (ca. 1966), at Christie’s New York in November 2011.
8. Emiliano di Cavalcanti
Total: $7.5 million on 81 works.
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.
9. Mira Schendel
Total: $6 million on 73 works.
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.
10. Fernando and Humberto Campana
Total: $5.6 million on 240 works.
Top price: $253,000, for Sushi Sofa (2003), at Phillips de Pury & Co., New York, in December 2007.
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.
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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