Héctor Aguilar (Mexican)
Also known as: Hector AguilarBirth Place: Mexico City, Mexico
Who was silversmith Hector Aguilar?
Hector Aguilar was a master silversmith, jewelry maker, and the first graduate from William Spratling’s famous apprenticeships in Taxco, Mexico. He met Spratling almost by chance while bringing a load of tourists to Taxco from Mexico City in the 1930s. Aguilar was one of Spratling’s best pupils, who often worked with close-to-pure silver (rated at 980 instead of the 925 of sterling silver on the silver scale). Aguilar was also a great businessman who only stayed at Spratling’s workshop for three years before finding investors for his own workshop, Taller Borda.
Aguilar’s Taller Borda became a huge success in 1943, when they secured a contract with an American jewelry company, Coro. They produced several notable designs for Coro throughout the 1940s. Hector kept Taller Borda running until 1966 when he closed up shop and enjoyed a nearly 20-year retirement, his place in the firmament of great Mexican silversmiths already secured.
What kind of art did Hector Aguilar make?
Hector Aguilar was a silversmith, jewelry designer, and artist whose work helped popularize Mexican silver in the 1940s and 1950s. His workshop’s pieces for the retailer, Coro were instrumental in this endeavor. That relationship lasted nearly a decade and produced some of Aguilar’s most vital work. As with most of the Mexican silversmiths from this time, these designs were heavily inspired by pre-Columbian artifacts and the folk art of Mesoamerica. Aguilar’s work continued to innovate over the next several decades, bolstered the quality of his pieces, which often used much more pure silver than his competitors. These days Aguilar’s jewelry is highly sought after for his mastery of the craft of silversmithing as well as its extremely high silver rating.
How did silversmith Hector Aguilar get started?
Hector Aguilar was born in 1905 in Mexico City. Not much is known of his early years, but a chance encounter with William Spratling in the early 1930s set him on a silversmithing career that would span three decades. Aguilar brought tourists from Mexico City to the small town of Taxco, a place that as fate would have it also was where Spratling was starting his silver workshop. Aguilar worked for several years as the shop manager for Spratling while also becoming an apprentice silversmith. After three years, Aguilar left to start his own workshop, Taller Borda. That workshop would create countless beautiful pieces, with unceasing quality up until its closure in 1966.
How much are Hector Aguilar pieces worth?
Antonio Pineda silver is extremely valuable at auction, pieces can sell for around $350 on the low end and upwards of $60,000 or more for major works. The most ever paid at a Heritage Auction for a Pineda piece was $59,375 for the piece A Ninety-Two Piece Hector Aguilar Mexican Silver Aztec Pattern Flatware Service (1950). Heritage Auction has an extensive history with Pineda pieces and has a record of over 60 former sales. You can look to these for some sense of an Aguilar piece’s worth.
Where to buy Hector Aguilar pieces for sale?
See works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.
How to value Hector Aguilar art?
The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services Department.
Héctor Aguilar became acquainted with William Spratling and the Taxco silver renaissance as a guide bringing tourists to Taller de Las Delicias from his native Mexico City. It was on one of his many visits to Taxco that he met his wife, Louis Cartwright, and together they settled in Taxco in 1937 where Aguilar became Spratlings shop manager. Two years later at Louis’ prodding and with the financial backing of friends, he purchased Casa Borda, the imposing 18th century Colonial residence in the center of town, previously owned by Don José de la Borda who made his fortune through the local silver mining industry. Aguilar established his taller at La Borda creating a new means of providing even more economic possibilities for residents of Taxco through the silver industy. At its height there were over three hundred employees at Taller Borda. Out of their vast production came Aguilar’s jewelry designs, which display his unique interpretation of pre-Columbian motifs focusing on the manipulation of line within simple compositions of stylized animals and geometric forms.
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