LAMA BLOG

Just in: Enrique Martínez Celaya

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is pleased to present two works by acclaimed artist Enrique Martínez Celaya, which will be offered in our May 21, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Enrique Martínez Celaya, Head with Hand and Flowers, 1996
May 21, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

Born in 1964 in Cuba, Celaya relocated to Madrid with his family, then moved to the United States in 1982 to attend Cornell University, where he studied Applied & Engineering Physics. It was while pursuing his Doctorate in Quantum Electronics at the University of California, Berkeley that Celaya began pursuing his interest in metaphysics through painting rather than applied sciences. During this period, Celaya chose to instead pursue an M.F.A. from University of California, Santa Barbara. He graduated from UCSB in 1994 and has lived and worked in Los Angeles ever since. His output is diverse, encompassing poetry, photography, installation, printmaking, painting and sculpture.

Celaya’s haunting, deeply resonant work is celebrated for its rigorous intellectual inquiry into universal themes like suffering, belonging, and authenticity. Featuring recurring natural and domestic iconography, such as landscapes, animals, furniture and architectural space, the artist creates evocative, semi-autobiographical scenes. These works employ motifs from other artistic, religious and philosophical disciplines, which he explained in an interview: “When I was younger I always felt that I was missing what was most important about things […] My interest in philosophy and theory came partly out of deficiency, of not knowing enough. And partly the result of being raised as an exile. We were migrants in Spain, so philosophy and literature were useful anchors, ways to make sense of what was happening.”

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Enrique Martínez Celaya, The Exit, 2001
May 21, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

The artist’s sensitive treatment of his subjects is evident in the two works in the May 21, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction. The figure in Head with Hand and Flowers (1996), an oil painting, is rendered with the artist’s signature care and is featured in profile with a clutch of allusive floral blooms layered underneath a limp white hand. This is complimented by The Exit (2001), a resin sculpture of a human head accompanied by a pair of oak branches. A tension exists in the composition of these works, which lends a charged air to their simple forms, underscoring the symbolic potential of imagery taken from nature.

Celaya’s work is held in numerous prominent public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Moderna Museet, Stockholm and Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig.

Lot information:

Enrique Martínez Celaya
Head with Hand and Flowers
1996
Oil on canvas
48” x 44”
Estimate: $7,000-$9,000

Enrique Martínez Celaya
The Exit
2001
Polyester resin and on oak branches
From the edition of 12
9” x 9” x 9″
Estimate: $5,000-$7,000

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