Highest-Bidded Art By Living Woman Was Outshined By Man, Banksy, At Same Event
By Mikelle Leow, 14 Oct 2018
Image via Sotheby’s
The self-destruction of one of Banksy’s most iconic pieces sent the art world in a frenzy over the past week. The elusive street artist had secretly installed and activated a shredder within the Girl with a Balloon painting’s frame, inspiring brands and copycats to bank in on the hype.
The stunt came too soon for another artist, whose painting would have made the headlines instead.
At art dealer Sotheby’s contemporary ‘Frieze Week’ auction on Friday, 5 October—the very same one where Banksy’s Girl with a Balloon closed at £1,042,000 (US$1.4 million)—British painter Jenny Saville’s nude portrait, Propped, reached an all-time auction high for a living female artist.
The seven-foot-high painting was purchased via telephone at £9.5 million (US$12.4 million), which was more than thrice the estimated price, according to The New York Times.
Saville created the portrait of herself sitting sans clothing on a stool, seemingly gazing in a hazy mirror, when she was a student in 1992. The “mirror” is scrawled with lines by French feminist writer Luce Irigaray. On the whole, the piece challenges the norms of female beauty.
London-based art advisor Susannah Polen, who used to spearhead the 20th-century British art department at Sotheby’s, described the artwork as “a strong political and feminist statement.”
The portrait’s message couldn’t have been delivered in a more timely fashion. Its record-breaking sale was met with warm applause, only for Banksy’s stunt to take its thunder soon after.
The scenario runs in a similar vein as the experiences of Toronto cartoonist and single mother Cinders McLeod, who believes Banksy—conjectured by most to be a male—might have been hugely influenced by several of her ideas.
“It’s one thing to borrow ideas from a rich dead white male artist, but another thing altogether to take your ideas from a single mother struggling to make her mark in a man’s world,” McLeod said.
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“[I] made a body that was too big for the frame, literally too big for the frame of art history” - Jenny Saville. One of the most influential paintings by a British artist of the last thirty years, 'Propped', shattered canonised representations of female beauty. This superlative self-portrait propelled a young Jenny Saville to renown following its inclusion in the most provocative and ground-breaking exhibition of contemporary art that Britain had ever witnessed, 'Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Gallery' @royalacademyarts. The remarkable painting will be offered at auction for the first time during Frieze Week, from the collection of visionary collector, patron and museum trustee, the late David Teiger. Proceeds from the sale of the painting will benefit Teiger Foundation – soon to be one of the world’s largest and most significant contemporary art foundations. #SothebysContemporary #JennySaville
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[via The New York Times, images via Sotheby’s]
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