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Three Women

joan mitchell Claude Monet paintings
There are no sure things in the art market, but right now, a Georgia O’Keeffe flower painting comes pretty close. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images
Marion Maneker
April 23, 2024

As the May auction season looms in New York, many estates have chosen to avoid it altogether, still fearful that buyers are not yet in the mood to spend even though the economy remains strong. And yet, those humdrum expectations were jolted last week via six works of art by three female artists, with combined low estimates of nearly $60 million. An important flower painting from the 1920s by Georgia O’Keeffe at Christie’s; a prime work by Leonora Carrington, the British-born Surrealist who spent most of her life resident in Mexico; as well as a suite of four works by the Abstract Expressionist Joan Mitchell have all the potential to generate a new narrative 18 months since the market peaked. 

georgia o'keeffe red poppy
Georgia O’Keeffe, Red Poppy (1928), estimated at $10 million

Christie’s eschewed the usual press release for Georgia O’Keeffe’s Red Poppy, from 1928, preferring to tease the work on Instagram. “To me,” said Emily Kaplan, who co-heads the 20th Century Evening Sale, “Instagram is the biggest reveal.”