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Self-portait by Kahlo brought over 5 million at auction

Frida Breaks Records, Again / Big Names Back New Museum / Virgen of Guadalupe, Registered Trademark, for a whopping $12.5 million / Pushing Back Borders in Austin / Jalisco Show Heads to Asia


Frida Breaks Records, Again

Frida Kahlo's 1929 self-portrait, the second of forty realized throughout her life, was the star attraction at Sotheby's May 31 Latin American art auction in New York City. The canvas not only broke records for any Latin American painting, but for work by a female artist as well.
Purchased by Eduardo Constantini, of Buenos Aires, the piece brought a whopping $5,065,750 against an estimated value of $3-4 million, breaking the artist's previous 1998 record of 3.2 million. Constantini says the painting will become part of his private museum's collection in Argentina.
Although only 62% of the 75 lots were sold, the auction house still managed to bring in a total of $11.5 million just slightly under the $11.7 million estimated for the entire sale. Experts agree that buyers appear to be holding back on less important pieces, preferring to invest in stellar works by prominent names. Many feel that this trend is based on the somber economic conditions currently being experienced throughout the Americas and by the fact that collectors are becoming more discerning in regards to Latin American art.
Among other works sold at the evening auction was an oil on canvas by Rufino Tamayo titled Sandias, which went for just over $980,000, and a recently discovered painting by Angel Zárraga, Femme a sa Toilette, dated 1917. The piece, which sold for $566,750, also broke that artist's record price. Estimated value was $300,000-$400,000. O

Big Names Back New Museum

Jumping on the bandwagon of new groups supporting the traditional arts of Mexico is none other than first lady Marta Sahagún de Fox. As honorary president of the recently formed Amigos del Mueso Nacional de Arte Popular, Sahagun de Fox stated that the association hopes to help people understand the inner spirit of Mexico through its popular arts.
The group is currently working to open the new museum in Mexico City, at Revillagigedo #11, in the metropolis historic downtown district. Restoration of the old Police and Fire Department building is expected to cost 3.6 million dollars, but once completed, MAP will become the nation's first interactive museum dedicated to analyzing the country's popular arts.
Besides housing a permanent collection of pieces from all thirty-one states and the Federal District, the museum will also offer workshops, seminars and limited scholarships to artisans. An extensive library of books and videos, along with educational programs and rotating exhibits from other museums are also planned.
Nearly six million artisans scrimp out a living from the production of hand created items every year, but limited commercialization and recognition of their arts has prohibited many from improving their economic situation. Amigos hopes to change this by drawing greater attention to the people responsible for carrying on one of the most vivid and explicit expressions of Mexican culture.
With heavy-hitters like Sari Bermúdez (president of Conaculta), Marie Therese Hermand de Arango, Emilio Carrillo Gamboa, Marta Sahagún de Fox, Cándida Fernández de Calderón (director of Formento de Cultura Banamex), Carlos Fuentes, Francisco Toledo and Rodrigo Rivero Lake sitting on the board of trustees, they just might pull it off.
Donations may be sent to: Amigos del Museo Nacional de Arte Popular, Av. Corregidores #823, 2nd floor, Col. Lomas Virreyes, México, D.F. 11000 O

Virgen of Guadalupe, Registered Trademark, for a whopping $12.5 million

They weren't kidding when they said faith doesn't come cheap.
Thanks to public outrage, the Roman Catholic Church has decided not to sell an American company the commercial rights to the official image of the Virgen of Guadalupe after all. The sacred image of the Virgen of Guadalupe is the property of all Mexicans, said Monsignor Diego Monroy, archdiocese spokesperson in Mexico City, in an effort to quell furor over the purported 12.5 million dollar sale.
Apparently the Guadalupe contract was negotiated in March 2002 with Viotran, an Orlando, Florida based company that handles wire transfers, mostly for immigrants sending money to Latin America. The deal included exclusive image rights for 5 years, meaning that any use of the Virgen's image without Viotrans permission would have become illegal, as well as use of the official church portrait of Juan Diego.
The dark skinned Virgen with indigenous features, who is said to have appeared 472 years ago to the Aztec peasant Juan Diego, is considered Mexico's patron saint. Juan Diego was canonized by Pope John Paul II during a visit to Mexico last year. Annually, millions of people travel to the spot where the Guadalupe is said to have appeared to pay homage to the country's most beloved icon.
The weekly political magazine Proceso drew public attention to the Viotran case in their February 9, 2003 edition, with an article titled La Guadalupana, Registered Trademark, causing all check to break loose for the Catholic church.
A spokesperson for the archdiocese acknowledged the Church had signed a preliminary project agreement with Viotran, but that both parties decided to void the deal, according to a story published in the San Francisco Chronicle. For the tranquillity of all Catholics, the sacred image of the Virgen of Guadalupe is simply not for sale, Monsignor Diego Monroy stated shortly after the attempted sale had been exposed to the public. Proceso claims to have a copy of the signed five-year contract between Viotran and the Catholic Church.

Pushing Back Borders in Austin

Although some U.S. and Mexican politicians still aren't seeing eye-to-eye on numerous affairs, pragmatic heads of the Latin American arts scene are still hard at work keeping creative borders open.
Proving the point is the recent pact between Austin, Texas based Mexic-Arte Museum and the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (CONACULTA), a subsidiary of the Mexican Secretary of Education. The two institutions have signed a formal agreement facilitating the exchange of long-term exhibits, ranging from pre-hispanic to contemporary Mexican art, and developing educational projects focused on Latin American arts.
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Tony Garza, hosted the reception celebrating the alliance between the two organizations in June at the Austin-based museum.
The Mexic-Arte Museum has been a leader in supporting and promoting Mexican, Hispanic and Latin American arts and culture for nearly two decades. The first exhibit under the new accord is planned for next year, in conjunction with the museum's 20th anniversary. Visit their website for more information on this and other exhibits.

Jalisco Show Heads to Asia

An exposition of arts from the State of Jalisco made its first stop in Santiago, Chile recently. The exhibition was organized by the states Secretary of Culture and exhibited for the first time in December of 2002 thru February 2003 at the former Convento del Carmen in Guadalajara.
This collection of works, demonstrating the wide scope of talent found in Jalisco, was inaugurated by the Mexican Ambassador to Korea, Sr. Rogelio Daniel Granguillhome, this past June in Seoul, Korea.
The collection includes the works by Alejandro Colunga, Humberto Baca, Luis Valsoto, Cornelio García, Antonio Ramírez, Lucía Maya, Xavier Arévalo, Mario Martín del Campo, Sergio Gravel, Carmen Bordes, Ismael Vargas, Juan Carlos Macías and José Fors.
The exhibition is being seen by many as a sign that Mexico del Occidente is finally receiving the rightful recognition its artists deserves. The astonishing variety of art that has been produced from this western region over the past twenty years is among the best in the country.

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza presides over a recent pact between Austin based Mexic-Arte Museum and CONACULTA this June.