NEW YORK—All 17 small- and large-scale paintings of waterfalls by Cuban-born painter Tomás Sánchez (b. 1948) on view last month at Marlborough Gallery (Nov. 28-Dec. 30), Manhattan, found private buyers, some from as far away as South Africa and London.
Reports gallery director Janis Cecil: “We have a hard time keeping Sanchez works in the gallery.” Noting that the artist produces only half-a-dozen pictures a year, she says the waiting list is extensive. Prices for the paintings in the recent exhibit ranged from $200,000 for smaller works to $400,000 for larger ones.
Two years ago Marlborough Gallery, the artist’s exclusive dealer since 1996, sold out a Sánchez show of works on paper, one of which (Caida de Aguas) was picked up by the art museum of Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Current prices for works on paper by Sánchez, who left Cuba in 1989, climb as high as $20,000. Prices for both paintings and drawings are up one-third since 2000, Cecil says, the result of growing demand. She notes that collectors are evenly divided among the U.S., Europe (Italy, Monaco and Spain, in particular) and South America (Colombia and Venezuela, especially). There is a strong political element to Sánchez works, often in terms of ecological damage resulting from industrialization.
Most secondary market sales have taken place at auction houses, Cecil says. Top prices have included the $314,000 earned at Christie’s in 2000 for the oil-on-canvas Nubes sobre la Laguna (estimate: $250,000/350,000). Other strong auction prices include $310,500 (estimate: $220,000/260,000) for the 1995 oil Meditador y laguna escondida en el bosque at Christie’s in 1998 and $225,750 (estimate: $120,000/150,000) for a 1993 acrylic-on-canvas self-portrait, Autorretrato en la orilla, at Sotheby’s in 2001.