A Juanito Laguna by Antonio Berni was sold in New York for 441 thousand dollars

The work “Juanito dormido” (1974), by the Rosario artist Antonio Berni (1905-1981), was auctioned with a base of 300 thousand and 400 thousand dollars and reached a record of 441 thousand dollars at the Sotheby’s house in New York .

“Juanito dormido” is an exponent of New Realism and expresses the artist’s social, political and committed view of Latin America, which is reflected in his extensive work.

It is a collage that incorporates different elements (oil, papier-mâché, clothing fabrics, shattered cans and scrap metal, plastic pieces, wood and nails) that Berni collected, to build a narrative with elements from his own field, achieving greater expressiveness .

The work is part of a series about this character that explores Juanito’s daily experiences, it was a donation that the artist himself made to the Argentine League for the Fight against Cancer and was first auctioned in Buenos Aires in 1994.

In this case, the child is taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon, accompanied by his two guardian animals, in a field of cans.

Made in 1974, “Juanito dormido” belongs to the most iconic series in Antonio Berni’s artistic career, in which he developed two archetypal characters: Juanito Laguna and Ramona Montiel -the young woman dazzled by the promises of the lights of the big city- .

Juanito Laguna’s series arises from the notes that Berni made in his journey and observation of life in the poor neighborhoods of Buenos Aires and Greater Buenos Aires.

“Juanito shows the archetype of greater Buenos Aires, it could be that of all the monkeys or children of Latin America. He is a poor boy but not a poor boy, he is not defeated by circumstances, but a being full of life and hope and that overcomes his circumstantial misery because he senses living in a world full of future “, expressed Berni himself in an interview.

Berni belonged to the generation of Argentine artists who trained with André Lothe in Paris in the 30s of the last century, and between 1928 and 1932 he made works linked to surrealism. In his later works he turned towards a critical realism and from 1958 he incorporated collage and assembly.

“My work is an expression of reality, a kind of visual journalism that underlines a sensitive curiosity. I don’t know what direction my work will take. When reality changes, I change too … My work changes along with my circumstances,” they were Berni’s words quoted by the auction house.

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