Work of the Week: María Berrío’s ‘La Cena’

Dow Kim is selling the painting at Christie's with a low estimate of $350,000.

María Berrío, La Cena (2012). Courtesy of Christie’s.

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Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, María Berrío‘s La Cena (2012) depicts a group of six women at a festive table. The mixed media work features rice paper, collaged fabric, and an abundance of patterns and textures. Rooted in folk art and Surrealism, the canvas teems with creatures such as fish, birds, and an elephant. Butterflies adorn the women’s hair, fruits and sweets are offered for the meal.

This scene of cornucopia returns to auction just two years after it fetched $1.56 million at Sotheby’s. It remains the second priciest artwork by the Colombian-born artist, whose auction record is $1.6 million. La Cena is now being sold at Christie’s post-war and contemporary day sale on May 17 by New York collector Dow Kim, according to a person familiar with his art holdings. Kim bought it in March of 2022, paying way over the work’s presale estimate of $350,000 to $450,000 (same as now).

people stand in front of a painting by maria berrio at art basel miami beach art fair

Guests view Clouded Infinity (2019), a collage of Japanese paper and watercolor paint on canvas by Colombian-born artist María Berrío presented by Victoria Miro Gallery at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2021. Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images.

The artist’s market exploded in 2021, when her very first artwork at auction surged to $927,500 compared with its $80,000 to $120,000 estimate at Sotheby’s. Since then, 25 other works came on the block, but their recent performance has been shaky, according to Artnet Price Database.

In the past year, three paintings failed to sell, and one was withdrawn from a Hong Kong auction. Last May, Berrío’s painting No One Can Hear You, Only the Wind fetched $635,000, below its $1 million low estimate at Phillips.

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