“United Through Art for Our Future”: VivArte 2015 Silent and Live Auctions at Phillips New York

Former US Marine and current actor J.W. Cortes representing VivArte at Tuesday’s reception

Art’s philanthropic opportunity is wide, yet not expended as much as it should be. VivArte however is a model example of an organization that is bridging its network in the New York art world to an international community in need. Last week, VivArte partnered with auction house and gallery Phillips to host both silent and live auction events ultimately benefiting not only the three participating charitable programs but the artists involved as well. Curated by Mónica Espinel, who has previously worked with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the collection of work up for bidding singularly focused on contemporary Colombian art but represented an interesting mix of emerging, mid-career and established artists, with two pieces even coming from late artists’ estates.

14 lots were submitted to the Phillips LATAM public auction, which took place on Wednesday, November 18th. Out of the 14 works, 11 sold for a net total of $242,912.50, setting records for six artists, four notably women: fabric artist Olga de Amaral’s iridescent gold-leaf gilded drapery Umbra gathered $449,000, well above the installation’s estimated value; Fanny Sanin’s abstract geometric painting from 1980 won $50,000; Sin Titulo, the very recent oil painting by Santiago Parra garnered $15,000; Johanna Calle’s galvanized wire mesh and copper work collected $10,000; Monika Bravo’s textile video installation Urumu Weaving Time sold for $9,000; and last but not least, Handicap, Humberto Junca’s installation of 27 framed silk embroideries amassed $8,750. The auction also set a precedent for Ivan Argote, with his first publicly sold work, a multi-media word art installation, gathering $9,375.

The silent auction debuted the prior evening on Tuesday, November 17th and featured the other 17 lots, with bidding officially closing at the end of the week. As of last Thursday, 10 of the 17 pieces had so far sold, totaling $22,600. Aside from debuting the auction collection, Tuesday’s reception also highlighted VivArte’s social mission and introduced high profile supporters, such as the Permanent Representative of Colombia to the UN, María Emma Mejía Vélez, who dually serves as Co-Chair. As iterated, all auction proceeds are allocated to three different philanthropic organizations – Primero Lo Primero, Caring for Colombia, and First Step Big Step – that equally support the early development of at risk Colombian children. With a firm belief that early childhood stimulation ensures invaluable results for the surrounding community, VivArte utilizes existing successes to help plant the seeds for a possible new wave of artists, promoting creative achievement internationally and throughout all stages.

Writing by Lisa Marsova

Photographs by Jaime Martinez and VivArte


Untitled works by Luis Fernando Pelaez and Santiago Parra, and Jaime Franco’s Entramado (L-R)


Mercedes Fernandez, Brittany Weeden, and Jared Abrams examining Jorge Mario Munera’s digital print Retrato Quimbaya with Gabriel Silva’s pink-hued El lector behind
Installation shot of Humberto Junca, Jaime Castellanos, Manuel Hernandez, and Fanny Sanin’s works (L-R)


Placards detailing VivArte’s charitable partnerships
Co-founders of VivArte Genevieve Maquinay and Mercedes Fernandez
Co-Chair and Permanent Representative of Colombia to the UN María Emma Mejía Vélez and friends
María Emma Mejía Vélez addressing the audience
María Emma Mejía Vélez addressing the audience


Olga de Amaral’s record setting piece Umbra
Fanny Sanin and Monika Bravo in front of their works
VivArte participating artists Fanny Sanin and Monika Bravo in front of their record breaking works
Natalia Mesa, Mercedes Fernandez, Juan Carlo Franco, and Genevieve Maquinay in front of Jaime Castellanos and Manuel Hernandez’s paintings (L-R)



Lisa Marsova

Lisa Marsova

Lisa Marsova is a financial analyst moonlighting as an art writer. She resides in the East Village and likes anything contemporary.

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