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Lygia Clark’s critters crawl to top auction spot

One of the Brazilian artist’s folding sculptures made $1.2m at Sotheby’s Latin American art sales

Lygia Clark’s Bicho-Em-Si-Md (No. IV), 1960, sold for $1.2m, doubling its high estimate of $600,000, to a private collection in Mexico

With a major retrospective currently at MoMA it is no surprise that Lygia Clark’s aluminium folding sculpture Bicho-Em-Si-Md (No. IV), 1960, was the top lot at Sotheby’s Latin American evening sale on Wednesday, 28 May. The work hammered at $1.2m, doubling its high estimate of $600,000, to a private collection in Mexico.

This is a slight dip, however, from last year, when the Brazilian artist seized the top spot in New York’s spring and autumn Latin American art sales. At Phillips, her black and white painting Contra Relevo (Objeto N. 7), 1959, hammered at $2.2m on 23 May ($600,000-$800,000), while another folding sculpture Bicho Invertebrado, 1960, sold for $1.9m on 21 November ($1.2m-$1.8m).

In the early 1960s, Clark moved from black and white geometric paintings to work on “Bichos” (critters), one of her best-known series. These geometric metal sculptures features multiple folds and are meant to be manipulated by the viewer.

Tonight’s Phillips sale also includes one of Clark’s folding critters, Bicho Parafuso Sem Fim, 1960, ($1.5m-$2.5m), and its shiny gold surface will probably prove popular with bidders.

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