Frida Kahlo Joins Best-Selling Female Artists with $ 34.9 Million Sotheby’s Sale

“Diego y yo” sold at auction for $ 34.9 million, setting a new record for Latin American art. (Credit: Sotheby’s)

Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist whose iconic face is glued to everything from coffee cups to pillows, caused another sensation in the art world this month when her self-portrait, titled “Diego and I,” was auctioned for $ 34.9 million.

While Kahlo set a new record for Latin American artists, regardless of gender, female artists have always struggled to be taken as seriously as their male counterparts, who have dominated the art market for centuries.

Even the best-selling female artists of our time largely follow heavyweights like Leonardo da Vinci, whose painting “Salvator Mundi” sold at Christie’s for $ 450.3 million in 2017, or Pablo Picasso, whose ‘) “sold for $ 179.4 million.

Yet the Kahlo sale by Sotheby’s on November 16 created a realignment among women artists whose works were auctioned off at record prices. Below are the top five works created by female artists.

“Jimson Weed / White Flower n ° 1”, Georgia O’Keefe

O’Keefe still retains the title of best-selling woman in art, with one of her iconic flower paintings selling for $ 44 million at a Sotheby’s auction in 2014. The 1932 painting First belonged to the artist’s sister, Anita, and shows O’Keefe’s style now immediately recognizable from the start of her career. The painting is currently in the Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indiana.

“Diego and I”, Frida Kahlo

The Mexico City-born artist completed this raw self-portrait five years before her death in 1954, and it depicts the conflicting relationship between Kahlo and her husband, the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. She easily overtook her husband at auction – Rivera had set a new benchmark for Latin American art in 2018, when one of her paintings sold for almost $ 10 million. The lucky buyer of Kahlo’s work is the founder of the Museum of Latin American Art in Buenos Aires.

“Spider”, Louise Bourgeois

One of the spiders for which the French-American artist Louise Bourgeois is known.  (Credit: Flickr)
A bourgeois spider. (Credit: Flickr)

The influential sculptor, known for her gigantic slender spiders, sold one of these creatures in 2015 for $ 28.2 million at Christie’s post-war and contemporary evening sale. The French-born American artist was not widely known until the age of 70, according to the New York Times, when the Museum of Modern Art in New York City held a retrospective of her work in 1982 and she began to receive a flurry of global attention. With her openly feminist work, she was chosen to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1993.

“Blueberry”, Joan Mitchell

The American painter, who evolved in New York’s Abstract Expressionist circles in the 1950s, is the creator of this abstract painting, which sold at Christie’s for $ 16.6 million in 2018. Seven bidders vied for the painting, doubling down thus its estimate. Mitchell found much of her inspiration in the French countryside, where she has lived most of her life.

“Propped” is the best-selling work by a living artist. (Credit: Sotheby’s)

“Seconded”, Jenny Saville

The British artist, who is also the youngest on this list – she was born in 1970 – is famous for her large-scale paintings of nude women in all their imperfect splendor. Her self-portrait sold for £ 9.5million at Sotheby’s London in 2018, breaking the record for the most expensive painting by a living artist at the time. Saville, member of the Young British Artists, is represented by the famous Gagosian gallery.


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