The Sotheby’s modern art auction had a Peruvian component, since the painting “Tristan and Isolde” by the artist Tilsa Tsuchiya (1928-1984) was auctioned for US$882,000 today, Tuesday 18, in the afternoon.
The 101×131-centimeter oil on canvas, painted between 1974 and 1975, started with an initial price of US$480,000 and after almost two minutes of bidding it was sold for a net price of US$700,000, to which were added the tax rates that raised to the final value.
The work, which shows two enigmatic creatures linked by their tongues, in the middle of a misty landscape characteristic of Tsuchiya’s work, was part of private collections for several years, but it is not clear when it left the country until it reached the hands from Sotheby’s.
The auction of “Tristan and Iseult” was not without controversy. In the local circle, it was debated whether it was convenient for Peru that a work of art like this be sold at an unprecedented price for the Peruvian market, or if it was preferable that it be declared as heritage.
“If we see it from a heritage point of view, we are talking about one of the most important paintings in Tilsa’s production, so it would be ideal if it remained in the country. However, from the point of view of the market, ‘Tristán e Isolde’ meets all the conditions for its price to reach figures that no Peruvian artist would have dreamed of,” the expert explained in a recent interview with El Comercio. Armando Andradewho for 25 years has been president of the auction committee of the Lima Art Museum (MALI).
For its part, the Ojo Público portal reported that the Ministry of Culture did not authorize the release of Tsuchiya’s work and that it has requested Interpol to investigate the case, despite the fact that it is not part of the Cultural Heritage of the Nation.
Yesterday’s Sotheby’s auction included works by Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, among others. An O’Keeffe painting sold for $2.4 million. The total amount reached by the Modern Day Auction, according to the auction house’s website, amounted to US$72,822,880.