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Strip-Poker Painting By Botero Rakes In $1.7 Million

"Card Players II" Latin American artist Francisco Botero's painting of a strip- poker game sold for $1.7 million Nov. 20 at Sotheby's New York. The total sale amounted to $14 million, just a little short of the $14.4 million pre-sale high estimate.

"If not extravagantly high, it has been a solid sale," said sales director at Marlborough Gallery Pablo Vallecilla of the strip-poker artwork. Marlborough Gallery represents Botero.

A Latin art auction that will be held at Christie's, Nov. 21, is expected to rake in as much as $16.7 million.

The outcome of the event is strong for a Latin auction, but was comparatively modest when pitted side by side with recent New York sales of impressionist, modern and contemporary American and European art. During the Sotheby's auction, almost a fourth of the items were not sold, but this is typical for a Latin American auction.

The Latin art trade used to be an indicator of the health if Latin American economies.

"As time has gone by, more and more non-Latins are buying Latin," said Vallecilla.

But even as more non-Latinos were present during the auction, the region was still well-represented with collectors coming from Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Venezuela


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