23 October 2007

Sidewalk Sotheby's

An abstract painting by Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo, found lying in trash on the street on Manhattan's Upper West Side, could be worth up to $1 million.

This story totally & instantly reminded me of La Bamba when Ritchie's brother Bob is working as a garbage man and he finds the cartoon animation cels in the trash outside Disney or whatever.

50-something Upper West Side resident Elizabeth Gibson, who works in radio and as a writer (homeless & poor), had no idea she was looking at but picked up the painting and brought it home because "it had a strange power.'' The painting was laying in a mound of garbage bags on the sidewalk on West 72nd Street.

She lugged the 4-foot-wide painting back to her tiny apartment and hung it on the living room

It turned out that the 1970 painting, "Tres Personajes'' (Three People), had been stolen more than 20 years ago and was the subject of an FBI investigation. It's now back in the hands of the rightful owners, who have decided to sell it at auction.

He ain't no Diego, thats 4 sure

The auction house says it could bring up to $1 million when it is sold next month.

Sotheby's expert August Uribe had featured it on PBS's "Antiques Roadshow FYI'' in 2005 as a missing masterpiece after it was stolen.

"I know nothing of modern art but it didn't seem right for any piece of art to be discarded like that,'' Elizabeth Gibson, who found the brightly coloured work while on her morning walk four years ago, told Sotheby's.

She said she learned of the work's worth after doing some internet research, which eventually led her to the Antiques Roadshow website.

The original owners, an anonymous Houston couple, purchased the painting in 1977 at Sotheby's. It was stolen in 1987, and the couple reported the theft to Houston and federal authorities. The work also was posted on the databases of the International Foundation for Art Research and the Art Loss Register. But no credible leads had turned up.

Somehow in 20 years the famous painting made its way from Houston, Texas to the Upper West Side.

Rufino Tamayo (August 25, 1899 – June 24, 1991) was a Zapotecan Indian painter born in Oaxaca de Juárez, México.

Tamayo moved to Mexico City, following the death of his mother in 1911, and began studying art at Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, in 1917. While studying, Tamayo experimented with and was influenced by Cubism, Impressionism, and Fauvism, among other popular art movements of the time, but with a distinctly Mexican feel.

After the Mexican Revolution, Tamayo devoted himself to creating an identity in his work, and with his paintings, Tamayo expressed what he believed was the traditional Mexico, refusing to follow the more political trend that many of his contemporaries did, such as José Clemente Orozco, Oswaldo Guayasamin, David Alfaro Siqueiros and yes even my boy, Diego Rivera.

Due to this choice, he was seen by some as a "traitor" to the political cause, and he felt he could not freely express his art, so in 1926, he decided to leave Mexico and move to New York.

Prior to leaving, he organised a one-man show of his work in Mexico City, where he was noticed for his individuality. Tamayo returned to Mexico in 1929 to have another solo show, this time being met with high praise and media coverage.

Tamayo and Lea Remba were the first artists, who created a new type of printed artwork called "mixografía". Mixografía consisted of artwork printed on paper, but with depth and texture. One of their most famous mixografía was titled Dos Personajes Atacados por Perros ("Two Characters Attacked by Dogs").

Tamayo also painted murals, some of which are displayed inside Palacio Nacional de Bellas Artes opera house in Mexico City, such as Nacimiento de la nacionalidad ("Birth of the Nationality"), (1952).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

She put a lot of work into finding the owner, and it seems as if she should get more than a 15k reward. That number was set years ago, when the value of the painting was set at a lot less. For the return of a $1 mil painting, a 1.5% thanks?