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September 25, 2017

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Artist Matta's work tops US auction at US$5 mil.

NEW YORK -- Chilean painter Roberto Matta's "The revolt of opposites" (""La revolte des contraires") fetched US$5 million at a New York auction devoted to Latin American art, setting a new record for the artist.

The winning bid doubled the initial estimate of US$2.5 million for the piece, according to Christie's, which held the auction late Tuesday.

The abstract painting is of a surreal landscape, with yellow and black polygons, ocular circles and gray waves and eddies.

Virgilio Garza, Head of Latin American Paintings at Christie's, called the sale a "long overdue recognition for one of the most influential artists of the 20th century." Matta died in 2002.

He added that "major records for modern and contemporary Latin American works were set tonight," with the total sale reaching some US$23 million.

Other artists also set personal records, including Brazilian Candido Portinari, whose "Navio negreiro" sold for US$1.14 million and Argentine Emilio Pettoruti's "Concierto" selling for US$800,000.

Uruguayan artist Joaquin Torres-Garcia's "Grafismo Universal" went for US$1.42 million, and Chilean Caludio Bravo's "Psalterium" fetched US$1.14 million.

On Wednesday and Thursday Sotheby's will hold similar auctions, with all eyes on Mexican Diego Rivera's "Girl in Blue and White (Portrait of Juanita Rosas at ten years old)," expected to sell for US$4 million to US$6 million.

Earlier this month, the only privately owned version of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" — one of the most recognizable paintings in history — set a world record when it sold for US$119.9 million at Sotheby's.

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