Pictures of ladies
MUCH fanfare greeted the $388m made by Christie's post-war and contemporary evening sale in New York earlier this month--its highest total ever. Few seemed to notice that the auction was unprecedented in another way: it had ten lots by eight women artists, amounting to a male-to-female ratio of five-to-one. (Sotheby's evening sale offered a more typical display of male-domination with an 11-to-one ratio.) Yet proceeds on all the works by women artists in the Christie's sale tallied up to a mere $17m--less than 5% of the total and not even half the price achieved that night by a single picture of two naked women by Yves Klein. Indeed, depictions of women often command the highest prices, whereas works by them do not.