7 Auction Highlights from Women Artists

Happy International Women’s Day! Each artwork on this list fetched one of the highest prices for a woman artist at auction. See more record-breaking prices and history-making artworks on Artory’s free price database.

Artory’s price database, which contains millions of transaction records from auction houses across the globe, is central to the research conducted in the Art Basel and UBS 2020 Art Market Report. From classic masterpieces to innovative digital artworks, Artory contains a diverse array of data points, provenance records, and price histories that are invaluable to collectors and art historians alike. Start your research on Artory today!

1. Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)

In 2014, Jimson Weed / White Flower No. 1 by Georgia O’Keeffe sold for $44.4 million at Sotheby’s American Art auction, setting the highest auction record for all female artists. This record has not been threatened since.

Born on a large dairy farm in Wisconsin, O’Keeffe is best known for extreme close-up images of abstracted natural forms, such as flowers, animal bones, clouds, and landscapes. Notably, in 1928, her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, announced that six of her calla lily paintings sold to an anonymous buyer in France for $25,000 (about $317,000 in 2019 dollars), which was the highest amount paid for a work by an American artist at the time.

2. Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980)

If there’s one artist that encapsulates Art Deco, it’s Tamara de Lempicka. As a Polish painter spending her working life in France and the US, Lempicka is best known for her highly polished and stylized Art Deco portraits. She became internationally known in the mid 20s, when American journalists from Harper’s Bazaar and other fashion magazines spotted her paintings.

Portrait of Marjorie Ferry, 1932, became the artist’s most expensive work in February 2020, when it was sold for GBP 16.4 million (USD 21.2 million) at the Christie’s Impressionist And Modern Art Evening Sale.

This sale was only three months away from the artist’s last record, La Tunique Rose, 1927, sold for USD 13,362,500 at the Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in November 2019.

La Tunique Rose, 1927
3. Jenny Saville (Born 1970)
Propped, 1992.

Jenny Saville is an original member of the Young British Artists (YBAs), the group that includes Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, and Chris Ofili. She is known for the large-scale portraits of nude women. The 1992 canvas Propped was sold for GBP 9.55 million (USD 12.4 million) at Sotheby’s The History Of Now: The Collection Of David Teiger sale in October 2018, making her the most expensive living female artist.

4. Berthe Morisot (1841-1895)

Berthe Morisot was a member of the Impressionist group. She had a close professional relationship with Edouard Manet and achieved critical recognition during her lifetime. This painting, Après le Déjeuner (After Lunch), 1881, is considered by many of her contemporaries to be ‘l’impressioniste par excellence’. It was sold for GBP 6.99 million (USD 10.93 million) in February 2013 at Christie’s Impressionist/Modern Evening Sale.

5. Cady Noland (Born 1956)
Bluewald, 1989.

Cady Noland is an American conceptual artist, known for her interest in the failed ethos of “the American Dream” and how it manifests itself in celebrity culture and everyday life. Bluewald, 1989, invokes one of the most iconic photographs in history: the image of Lee Harvey Oswald—the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy—moments after he was struck by a bullet that would ultimately kill him. It was sold for $9.79 million in May 2015 at Christie’s Looking Forward to the Past sale.

6. Camille Claudel (1864-1943)
La Valse, 1982.

Camille Claudel was a French sculptor. She started working in Auguste Rodin’s workshop in 1883 and became his model, his confidante, and his lover. By 1893, because of Rodin’s prominence in French culture, Claudel secluded herself in her studio to focus on creating work that would establish her own reputation. She suffered from mental illness in her later life, which led her to destroy many of her statues. She died in relative obscurity, but later gained recognition for the originality and quality of her work.

La Valse (The Waltz), is largely considered to be one of Claudel’s most accomplished sculptures. The first edition, created in 1982, fetched the price GBP 5,122,500 (USD 8,018,942) in June 2013 at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale.

7. Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842)

Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun was a French painter and daughter of the French portraitist Louis Vigée. At the age of 15, Vigée-LeBrun was earning enough money from her portrait painting to support her family. She soon came to the attention of the French queen, who appointed her as a member of Paris’s Royal Academy.

Portrait Of Muhammad Dervish Khan, the Indian ambassador sent to France by the powerful Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan, is a testament of Vigée-LeBrun’s resourcefulness in acquiring this unique commission. In January 2019, it fetched the price of USD 7,185,900 at Sotheby’s Master Paintings Evening Sale.

Search through Artory’s free price database to see more artworks by these woman artists and to explore their artwork prices, trends, and records.


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