HAVANA – A set of paintings by Cuban artist Roberto Fabelo inspired by Cuban cigars was auctioned off here for $80,000 to highest bidder Jimmy Ng, a Singapore art collector.
The watercolor on black poster board triptych, titled “Voluta rosiverde,” “Voluta pegasus” and “Nodriza,” is inspired by the various shapes created by the thick smoke from Cuban cigars, which are manufactured on the island using traditional methods.
“I couldn’t resist Fabelo,” Ng told EFE after the strike of the gavel officially made him owner of the painting on Tuesday night.
Ng’s offer surpassed auction organizers’ expectations and he outbid Luciano Mendez, a Spanish businessman who lives on the island and has become one of the top collectors of contemporary Cuban art.
Ng said that he loves his “friend” Fabelo’s creations and already owns “many paintings” signed by the artist, whose work sells for some of the highest prices obtained by the island’s living artists.
The auction took place during this week’s 20th Cuban Cigar Festival, a key gathering for cigar aficionados.
“Fabelo has been painting triptychs for a long time. From the start of his career, he has repeatedly drawn on the topic of cigars and the spirals created by their smoke. This is why he decided to produce this allegory of the world of cigars,” Mario Fernandez, Fabelo’s agent, told EFE.