Investing in Female Artists Pt. 3 – artmarketblog.com
Two female artists whose work I really love are Lee Krasner and Dora Maar. What is interesting about both these artists is that they were romantically involved with very famous male artists – Dora Maar with Picasso and Lee Krasner with Jackson Pollock. There is no doubt that the early progression of the careers of both these artists was aided by their association with a famous male artist, but did it prove to be a positive move for their career in the long run?. Although their early careers benefited from their relationships with famous male artists, it now seems that both artists are unable to disassociate themselves from these relationships, and are destined to remain in the shadow of their partners forever. Instead of being known as individual artists of great talent, their relationships have basically ended up defining their place in art history. It is impossible to know whether the careers of either Maar or Krasner would have progressed as far as they did without help from their famous lovers but what I am sure of is that their romantic affiliations are currently hindering the progression of their status in the art world. For Krasner and Maar it seems as though it really was a case of you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
One of the only cases where a famous female artist in a relationship with a famous male artist has ended up achieving higher prices than their male partner is the case of Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The auction record for a work by Kahlo is US$5.6-million, which was achieved by “Roots” in 2006, whereas the auction record for a work by Rivera is US$3.08-million, which was achieved by “Baile en Tehuantepec” in 1995. It was not until after her death that Frieda Kahlo began to be known as an independent artist and not just as the wife of Diego Rivera. Prior to her death, and for several decades after her death, Kahlo was as much in the shadow of her male partner as Maar and Krasner were. Various events in the 1980′s were responsible for Kahlo’s work beginning to receive the recognition and attention that it deserved. The progress of Kahlo’s status has continued to the point where she has actually surpassed the status of her male partner. Some of the recognition for the high prices paid for Kahlo’s work does, however, have to be given to the fact that a very small number of works by Kahlo have ever appeared on the market.
As the above cases show the problem of gender imbalance in the art world is more complicated than it may seem, and the solution more difficult to determine. Progress is being made but not at any where near the pace that it should be.
To be continued………….
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.