A classic flower painting by Georgia O’keeffe, “Jimson Weed (White Flower No. 1),” sold for $44.4 million at Sotheby’s in New York, setting a record for an artwork by a female artist. Painting from 1932, which sold for nearly three times its $15 million high estimate, thus beat the previous record of $11.9m (£7.5m) for an untitled work by Joan Mitchell, set in May. It was sold to an anonymous bidder after an “intense bidding war” between two rivals.
This painting had previously been sold two times before, once in 1987 for $990,000 and again in 1994 for $1 million.
The sale also surpassed O’Keeffe’s previous auction record of $6.2 million, set by Christie’s in 2001.
The piece was offered at auction by the O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who decided to sell three paintings from its collection of 1,149 works by O’keeffe. The proceeds of the sale will be put towards the museum’s acquisitions funds.
The highest record for a male artist is $140.82 million, which was for Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucien Freud.”