(Ecuadorean, 1913-1997)
    Arpista, 1963
    Oil on canvas
    31 x 47 inches (78.7 x 119.4 cm)
    Signed and dated lower left: E. Kingman 63

    Eduardo Kingman Riofrio was an Ecuadorean painter known for his psychological portrayals of Ecuador's marginalized indigenous population. His work shows a strong indebtedness to the Mexican Muralists as well as the early Peruvian indigenists. Having trained at the School of Fine Arts in Quito, Kingman received the illustrious Aguilera Prize in 1936. This acclaimed prize is celebrated as the highest artistic honor offered in Ecuador. Shortly after receiving national praise, he moved to New York in order to study with Camilo Egas (1889-1962). Egas was one of the first Ecuadorian artists to address indigenous themes in his painting, and his influence is recognizable in Kingman's mature style. In 1939, Egas and Kingman were commissioned to execute a mural for the New York World's Fair. The result of their collaboration was the monumental painting La Cosecha (The Harvest), which was prominently featured in the Ecuadorian Pavilion. Kingman remained in New York during World War II and, for a brief period after the war, worked at the San Francisco Museum of Art. In 1947, he returned to Ecuador and served as the Director of the National Museum. Kingman later founded the Caspicara Art Gallery in Quito which became the unofficial headquarters of the Indigenismo movement.

    Kingman helped cultivate the indigenist movement in Ecuadorean art, focusing his canvases on the Indian people and their history of servitude. His figures are generic rather than individual, and serve to represent the collective native population. Kingman documents the physical effects of harsh working conditions through his use of exaggerated hands. Rather than the face, the hands have become the primary signifiers of emotion. They reveal the figure's inner tension and anxiety as they protrude like claws from the surface of the canvas. Here, the darkened eyes of the harpist are hollow and lifeless, alluding to dehumanization through colonialism.

    Condition Report*:

    Overall very good condition.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    3rd Wednesday
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