We continue our series of the most expensive artists at auction with women artists. Taking a long view—over the past ten years—and looking at artists dead or living (as opposed to our last post on living women artists), Georgia O'Keeffe is still the head of this group. The 2014 sale of O'Keeffe's Jimson weed/White flower no. 1 (1932) for the sizable sum of $44 million is way ahead of the next record. Though the list hasn't changed much from that of this past year, there have been some minor shifts in rankings. Cady Noland, for example, makes a notable debut with her recent record sale of Bluewald (1989) in May. Some artists grace two or more of these lists. Following, is our compilation of the most expensive women artists at auction.
TOP TEN ARTISTS BY LOT 2005–2015
O'Keeffe's record sale of Jimson weed/White Flower no. 1 (1932) keeps her at the top again this year tens of millions above the next highest record. While the price of $44 million is impressive for any artist, the November 2014 sale at Sotheby's New York marked O'Keeffe as the most expensive female at auction. Her work continues to do well at auction. Another painting, White Calla Lily (1927), sold for close to $9 million in a recent sale at Sotheby's New York this year.
Abstract Expressionist Joan Mitchell ranks second with the $12 million sale of Untitled (1960). And she continues to be popular at auction evidenced by being the top artist on our list by value (see below).
As a young artist, Morisot's paintings were shown at the Salon de Paris. A contemporary of Impressionists Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, and Claude Monet, her painting Après le déjeuner (1881) set her record in 2013 when it sold for $11 million at Christie's London.
The Russian avant-garde artist had her record set with the sale of the fieryLes fleurs (1912) for $10.8 million back in 2008.
A spider that's larger-than-life, Bourgeois's spindly bronze sculpture sold for $10.7 million at Christie's New York in 2011.
6. Cady Noland
The $9.8 million sale of Bluewald (1989) at Christie's New York in May brought Noland on to the list.
Known for her portraiture, Tamara de Lempicka's record was set with a 2011 sale at Sotheby's New York: Le réve (Rafaëla sur fond vert) (1927) sold for $8.5 million. She's also known to be a favorite artist of Madonna.
Sculptor Claudel's The Waltz (1892-93) sold for $8 million at Sotheby's London Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in 2013 proving, perhaps, that she was finally out from under her teacher and lover Auguste Rodin's shadow.
9. Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama's record at auction was set with the $7 million sale of White No. 28 (1960), but the volume of her work sold recently (3323 lots during this time frame) speaks of her enduring popularity at auction. She's also, we might add, exceedingly popular with the Instagram crowd and drew masses of selfie-snapping fans to two recent shows at David Zwirner.
10. Barbara Hepworth
The 2014 sale of Figure for Landscape (1960) at Christie's London set the sculptor's record at auction. The $7.08 million result keeps Hepworth in our top ten.
TOP TEN ARTISTS BY VALUE 2005-2015
While she may be second on our list of artists by lot, Joan Mitchell tops the list by value, with 407 lots sold for this period. Kusama has had the most lots sold by a considerable margin: she has had 3323 pieces of work sold, with Sherman next at 804.
1. Joan Mitchell $286,117,725
2. Yayoi Kusama $215,702,079
3. Georgia O'Keeffe $129,445,340
4. Louise Bourgeois $118,020,052
5. Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova $109,386,465
6. Agnes Martin $109,085,447
7. Cindy Sherman $106,562,956
8. Tamara de Lempicka $97,748,009
9. Irma Stern $92,359,264
10. Barbara Hepworth $82,597,323
Credit for featured image: Barbara Hepworth, New Penwith (1974). Courtesy of Pace Gallery.
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