Another Tarsila canvas was sold in 2019 for around R $ 100 million, but in the USA
Tarsila do Amaral (1886-1973) became, on Thursday (17), the most expensive artist in Brazil. The auction of his 1923 modernist canvas Caipirinha, whose initial bid was R $ 47.5 million, caused his price to go up on the floor of the Bolsa de Arte commanded by Jones Bergamin tonight. The canvas, sold to a Brazilian collector, was disputed by three people, had 19 bids and reached a stratospheric value of R $ 57.5 million, lower than its record abroad, that of A Lua (1928), sold to the New York Museum of Modern Art last year for $ 20 million (approximately $ 100 million).
Never has a Brazilian work of art reached this price. The highest values recorded to date were for works signed by Guignard and Lygia Clark. The first reached R $ 5.7 million with Vaso de Flores, in 2015. Lygia Clark had its Modulated Surface No. 4, sold for R $ 5.3 million in 2013 (values not adjusted for inflation).
More recently, a lesser-known canvas by Tarsila, also the modernist period, went on sale for $ 7 million (about R $ 36 million), at an international online fair. Since 1995, its market price has continued to rise. That year, Argentine businessman Eduardo Costantini bought the best-known canvas of his anthropophagic period, Abaporu (1928), for $ 1.3 million during an auction in New York. The painting was last seen in Brazil at the exhibition Tarsila Popular, at Masp, which received 400 thousand visitors.
After legal problems, the Caipirinha auction (a 60 cm x 81 cm oil) was finally held, but not without turmoil. The painting is the subject of a legal dispute between Carlos Eduardo Schahin, son of businessman Salim Taufic Schahin, involved in the Lava Jato operation, and the 12 creditor banks to which his father owes. The sale of the painting would help to pay that debt. However, Carlos Eduardo claims that the work was sold to him by his father in 2012, for R $ 240 thousand. Creditors questioned the legitimacy of the operation, justifying that the work never came out of his father's hands.
Carlos Eduardo Schahin's lawyer, Márcio Casado, filed a precautionary measure to prevent the auction. The Superior Court of Justice (STJ) rejected the injunction requesting its suspension. Although the auction was maintained, Minister Moura Ribeiro stipulated two conditions for its realization: the amount obtained will not go immediately to the creditor banks, but will be kept in a specific account until the end of the judicial process involving the work. The fact that the buyer had to deposit the money the day after the purchase ruled out possible foreign interested parties to participate in the auction, according to the advisory of Bolsa de Arte.
The second condition: the buyer needs to be notified that the final judgment may reverse the current understanding of the São Paulo Court of Justice that the painting belongs to Salim and therefore can be sold to help pay off its debt with the creditor banks .
The lawyer Márcio Casado entered, on the day of the auction (17), with a petition in the case file, in São Paulo, arguing that the creditor banks, aware of the STJ's decision, did not publicize the measure of Minister Moura Ribeiro, which is contested by the Bolsa de Arte. "The petition is unreasonable and ignores the conditions set by the Judiciary for the sale, including a recent decision dated December 14 that had already rejected exactly the same allegation the debtor's son. All conditions required by law and the Judiciary, which recognized the validity of the contest, were respected ", according to the advisory of Bolsa de Arte.
Under the initial custody of Dona Olivia Guedes Penteado, first owner of the canvas and patron of the modernists, the painting was inherited by her daughter, Carolina Penteado da Silva Teles and, later, was purchased by businessman Salim Taufic Schahin. There are few works the modernist period of Tarsila available on the market and few collectors have a canvas of the artist of historical importance comparable to painting, held in Paris a year after the Modern Art Week of 1922.
Registered in the raisonné catalog of Tarsila do Amaral, it is a painting considered by the artist to be one of her best paintings the modernist period. In 1923, Tarsila studied painting with the Cubists in Paris - and Caipirinha reaffirms Léger's influence on the composition - when she wrote a letter to her parents communicating her intention to record her childhood memories on the farm. "In art, I want to be the caipirinha of São Bernardo, playing with dolls in the woods, as in the last painting I am painting".