Hot on the heels of a $1.5 billion art auction week, a painting by Georgia O’Keeffe broke the record for the most expensive work by a female artist sold at auction this morning. “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” (1932) brought in $44,405,000 at Sotheby’s as part of an American Art auction, and was sold on behalf of Santa Fe’s Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, which had two other works on offer today as well. One of those, “Untitled (Skunk Cabbage)” (c. 1927), brought in a comparatively meager $941,000, while the other, “On the Old Santa Fe Road” (1930–31), raised $5 million. All of the proceeds from those sales will go towards the museum’s acquisition fund.
The price of the exuberant “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” is more than three times the previous auction record for a work by a female artist, which was the $11.9 million paid for Joan Mitchell’s “Untitled” (1960) at Christie’s earlier this year. It’s also more than seven times O’Keeffe’s previous record ($6.2 million). It doesn’t, however, come close to the world auction record, held, naturally, by a male artist: $142.4 million paid for Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” around this time last year.
Here, based on our research, are the top 10 lots by women artists sold at auction:
- Georgia O’Keeffe, “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” (1932), $44.4 million, Sotheby’s 2014
- Joan Mitchell, “Untitled” (1960), $11.9 million, Christie’s 2014
- Natalia Goncharova, “Les Fleurs” (c. 1912), £5.5 million / $10.86 million, Christie’s 2008
- Louise Bourgeois, “Spider” (1996), $10.7 million, Christie’s 2011
- Natalia Goncharova, “Espagnole” (c. 1915), £6.4 million / $10.25 million, Christie’s 2010
- Natalia Goncharova, “Picking apples” (c. 1909), £4.9 million / $9.78 million, Christie’s 2007
- Joan Mitchell, “Untitled” (c. 1960), $9.3 million, Sotheby’s 2011
- Joan Mitchell, “The 14th of July” (c. 1956), $7.1 million, Christie’s 2013
- Louise Bourgeois, “Spider I” (1995), $7.1 million, Sotheby’s 2014
- Joan Mitchell, “Salut Sally” (1970), $7 million, Christie’s 2012
Correction: This list originally failed to include works by Natalia Goncharova and Louise Bourgeois. It has been corrected.
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