Women Artists Take Center Stage at Recent Auction

Last month’s Christie’s Contemporary Art sale showcased a vibrant market for young and diverse artists, signaling a growing preference among collectors for fresh voices and perspectives. In this blog post, we highlight four talented women artists who made a significant impact and are worth considering for art investors looking to diversify their portfolios.

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Simone Leigh is an American artist known for her sculptures, videos, installations, and public projects. Her work explores themes of historical and contemporary racism in the United States, with a particular focus on the experiences of Black women. Leigh incorporates materials, forms, and techniques inspired by traditional African art into her artwork. She is recognized for her “Anatomy of Architecture” series, which combines images of Black women with architectural and cultural elements. Leigh’s art addresses issues of representation and healthcare for Black women, and she has been involved in community-based initiatives. Her achievements include receiving the prestigious Hugo Boss Prize in 2018 and representing the United States at the Venice Biennale in 2022, making her the first female African American artist to do so.

Her sculpture “Stick” sold at Christies for a record-breaking $2.7 million, representing her powerful and thought-provoking artworks.

Robin F. Williams is an artist known for her captivating portraits that feature monumental female figures in both fantastical and everyday settings. Her artwork showcases women frolicking in forests, posing nude in domestic scenes, and engaging in whimsical activities like sipping from giant cups. Williams is based in Brooklyn and demonstrates a strong emphasis on material innovation, using various mediums such as oil, acrylics, colored pencil, and pastels. Her brushwork ranges from textured, stucco-like layers to smooth, airbrushed surfaces. With a degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, Williams has exhibited her work in prominent cities including Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Copenhagen, and Chicago. Her art can be found in several collections, including those of the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, the Brooklyn Museum, the CC Foundation in Shanghai, and the X Museum in Beijing. Through intense gazes and a near-mythic scale, Williams imbues her female subjects with a distinct sense of agency and inner mystery.

Her distinct style and exploration of female identity captivated collectors. “Ice Queen” sold for $428,000, surpassing its estimate at Christies last month.

Danielle McKinney, born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1981, is an artist known for her narrative paintings that often center around a solitary female protagonist. Her intimate portraits capture moments of leisure and deep reflection, exploring themes of spirituality and self. McKinney’s artworks reveal hidden narratives and evoke dreamlike spaces, frequently within domestic interiors. With a background in photography, she approaches painting with a keen awareness of the female gaze, employing vibrant colors and nuanced details to create a cinematic effect.

McKinney earned her BFA from Atlanta College of Arts in 2005 and her MFA from Parsons School of Design in 2013. Her works can be found in private and public collections, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, TX, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami, FL, and The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel, among others. Her art has been featured in notable exhibitions such as “Heroic Bodies” at the Rudolph Tegners Museum in Dronningmølle, Denmark, “IN A DREAM YOU SAW A WAY TO SURVIVE AND YOU WERE FULL OF JOY” at The Contemporary Austin, “Uncanny Interiors” at Nicola Vassel Gallery, and “Black Melancholia” at Hessel Museum of Art. McKinney is represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York and Night Gallery in Los Angeles. She currently lives and works in Jersey City, NJ.

Her works offer compelling narratives and thought-provoking imagery, challenging traditional representations of femininity. We Need to Talk signed ‘McKinney’ (on the reverse) sold for $201,600.00 at Christie’s.

Rebecca Ackroyd, born in Cheltenham, UK in 1987, is an artist whose work challenges the boundaries of sculpture. Through a diverse language of making, she explores the relationships between drawing, abstraction, and figuration. Ackroyd’s sculptures, often larger than life, feature crude constructions made from materials like chicken wire and plaster bandage. These sculptures, in the form of legs, confront the viewer with their rawness and stark presence. Positioned at head height with crotches on display, they exude confidence and mimic catwalk stances.

In Ackroyd’s art, the overtly feminine collides with abstract architecture, creating a tension that transports the viewer between different realms. The work hints at interaction and performative encounters while inviting a multitude of narratives to clash. Through this collision of elements, Ackroyd’s sculptures evoke a sense of intrigue and challenge conventional notions of form and representation.

Her unique approach blending sculpture and painting creates engaging and thought-provoking works. “Garden Tender” exceeded expectations, selling for over double its estimate at $56,000

There are many exciting opportunities for art investors to engage with the vibrant contemporary art scene while supporting underrepresented artists. Investing in these women artists not only offers potential financial gain but also contributes to a more inclusive and dynamic art market.

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