Breaking News – One in eight top auction artists are women



Figures reveal art auction gender imbalanceOf the top 100 artists whose works fetched the highest amounts at auction in 2017, just 13 were women, an analysis of sales data shows. The top female artist was Japan’s Yayoi Kusama, whose works sold for $65.6m (£48.9m) – putting her 13th overall, according to figures from MutualArt.The 13 women in the top 100 accounted for sales of $263m (£175m) – 7.4% of the overall total of $3.5bn (£2.6bn).The Art Newspaper’s Anna Brady said she was “depressingly unsurprised”.Leonardo da Vinci was top of the 2017 auction rankings, thanks to the $450m (£337m) sale of the Salvator Mundi painting last November.He was followed by Jean Michel Basquiat – whose works fetched $338m (£253m) in 2017 – then Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly and Roy Lichtenstein.At the age of 89, Kusama is the only living woman in the top 50.After her, the top-selling women were Louise Bourgeois, Joan Mitchell and Agnes Martin – who, like Kusama, made their names in 1950s New York.The top-selling female artists:1. Yayoi Kusama 2017 total auction sales = $65.6m (£49.2m)The colourful Kusama (born 1929) is famed for paintings and sculptural installations that build seemingly endless patterns of polka dots. The Japanese artist was an influence on Pop Art in the 1950s and 60s and, in monetary terms, is far ahead of any other female artist.2. Louise Bourgeois2017 auction sales = $36.8m (£27.6m)The French-American artist (1911-2010) created suggestive sculptures that reimagined the human figure, body parts and organs. She’s also known for her huge spiders, which have appeared around the world and are her biggest-selling works.3. Joan Mitchell2017 auction sales = $30.5m (£22.9m)From the abstract expressionism scene, Mitchell (1925-92) spun webs of bold brushstrokes on pale backgrounds, often inspired by nature. One of her paintings sold for $16.6m (£12.4m) earlier this month, smashing her auction record.4. Agnes Martin 2017 auction sales = $26.3m (£19.7m)Martin (1912-2004) was
Of the top 100 artists whose works fetched the highest amounts at auction in 2017, 13 were women.
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