Despite the big result for an exceptional (and relatively small) painting by Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist was still only 18th in Artprice's ranking of artists by auction turnover for the month of November 2021, behind 17 male artists. And while this trend was completely reversed for the generation of artists born after 1985 (the 8 top-selling signatures were all young women!), we ask: what is the gender parity situation on the NFT market?
Frida Kahlo - Courtesy of Organ Museum / Abode of Chaos
thierry Ehrmann, CEO and Founder of Artmarket.com and its Artprice department: “The creation of the NFTs market should be an opportunity to achieve some sort of gender parity on the a rt m arket. Th e technology is revolutionizing an entire industry, as shown by Art Basel Miami Beach which opens its doors this year to Tezos (“ home to one of the fastest growing NFT artist communities”) and Scope Miami which has decided to issue its VIP invitations in the form of non-fungible tokens”.
“World of Women”
It's only a few years since NFTs first appeared on the web, and only a few months since the general public discovered non-fungible digital tokens; but some have already commented the lack of a female presence in this new world. Several projects have nevertheless been developed to try to correct this imbalance, starting with a collection of exclusively female PFPs (profile pictures) by World of Women: https://opensea.io/collection/world-of-women-nft
“World of Women was created to bring more diversity and inclusiveness to the NFT space while bridging the gap between collectibles and single edition art worlds”.
Considering the traditional art market's long-standing gender disparity, fears of a male-dominated digital world seem perfectly rational. New York's prestige sales in November – driven by the Macklowe Collection at Sotheby's and the Cox Collection at Christie's – were once again dominated by the likes of Warhol, Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Twombly, Rothko, Giacometti, Richter, etc.
But things are changing…
Frida Kahlo was the top-selling female artist at the November auctions this year, but she was behind eighteen men. A study published by Ken Bromley Art Supplies in 2020 revealed that the Mexican painter ranked second among the world's most searched artists on Google (first in 29 countries) behind Leonardo Da Vinci.
Diego y yo (1949) is one of the most important paintings by Frida Kahlo that doesn't belong to a museum. On 16 November 2021 it fetched $34 million at Sotheby's, 22 times its previous value in 1990. Although it was a very impressive result for the Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo is still not competing with Andy Warhol, whose signature generated $165 million at the November 2021 prestige auctions.
Top 10 female artists at auction in November 2021
Global ranking – Artist – Auction Turnover
18th – Frida KAHLO (1907-1954): $34,883,000
28th – Agnes MARTIN (1912-2004): $21,765,500
30th – Cecily BROWN (1969- ): $20,706,150
32nd – Joan MITCHELL (1926-1992): $20,053,500
41st – Georgia O'KEEFFE (1887-1986): $14,561,300
52nd – Yayoi KUSAMA (1929-): $9,198,600
53rd – Lee BONTECOU (1931-): $9,176,500
58th – Helen FRANKENTHALER (1928-2011): $8,177,100
59th – Cindy SHERMAN (1954-): $8,162,100
62nd – Tamara DE LEMPICKA (1898-1980): $7,896,300
Over the past decade, female artists under 40 have nevertheless established themselves as the most successful artists of their generation on the auction market. In 2013 - 2014, collectors became enamoured with the work of Tauba Auerbach (1981) represented by the Paula Cooper gallery. This trend has gradually intensified to the point where the turnover ranking of artists born after 1985 (for November 2021) is heavily dominated by female painters.
Top 10 artists born after 1985 at auction in November 2021
Global ranking – Artist – Auction turnover
1st – Avery SINGER (1987-): $4,638,900
2nd – Toyin Ojih ODUTOLA (1985-): $2,235,900
3rd – Flora YUKHNOVICH (1990 -): $1,951,100
4th – Jadé FADOJUTIMI (1993-): $1,053,400
5th – Christina QUARLES (1985-): $948,000
6th – Jordan CASTEEL (1989-): $806,500
7th – Issy WOOD (1993-): $768,750
8th – Allison ZUCKERMAN (1990-): $636,600
9th – Ismail ISSHAQ (1989-): $589,300
10th – Oscar MURILLO (1986-): $432,900
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