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Female artists break records and topple estimates at the international auction house Bonhams.

VALENTINE HUGO (1887-1968) Portrait d'Arthur Rimbaud (Painted in December 1933).jpg

VALENTINE HUGO (1887-1968) Portrait d’Arthur Rimbaud (Painted in December 1933)

Unfortunately, the careers of women artists have been undervalued and overlooked in sharp comparison to their male counterparts. Fortunately, it seems to take a turn for the better. Female artists and even collectors are having great success through Bonhams. Recently, several have achieved auction world records for their work. Even better, they have sold well beyond their pre-sale estimates. A few highlights include:

A world record for Surrealist artist Valentine Hugo


Portrait d’Arthur Rimbaud by Valentine Hugo (1887-1968), one of the great forgotten women of the Surrealist movement, sold for $1,366,487 – a new world auction record for the artist- and was the top lot of The Mind’s Eye / Surrealist Sale in London. The work had a pre-sale estimate of £400,000 - £600,000. “Valentine Hugo’s captivating Portrait d’Arthur Rimbaud was a rarely offered masterpiece, and this clearly shows that her work is finally receiving the recognition it deserves,” comments Hannah NoelSmith, Bonhams’ Head of UK & Europe Impressionist & Modern Art.

3x estimate for contemporary ceramist Betty Woodman


Pillow Pitcher, a ceramic work by Betty Woodman (1930-2018), sold for more than three times its low estimate of $15,000 for $50,312.50 at Bonhams Los Angeles’ Modern Decorative Art + Design. An iconic post-war ceramic artist, Woodman, became the first living female artist to have a retrospective at the Met in 2006.

_Clara Etso Ugbodaga-Ngu (Nigerian, 1921-1996) Dancers 1965, oil on board (45 x 35 cm appr
Betty Woodman (1930-2018) Pillow Pitchercirca 1980glazed earthenware, stamped 'WOODMAN'.jp

Record for Nigerian contemporary artist Clara Etso Ugbodaga-Ngu


Clara Etso Ugbodaga-Ngu (1921-1996) established an auction record at Bonhams Modern & Contemporary African Art sale in London when her rare work, Dancers, sold for $62,575. Ugbodaga-Ngu is an influential figure in Nigerian art history. This work is an exceptional example of her interest in blending Nigerian motifs and subject matter with a semi

Clara Etso Ugbodaga-Ngu (Nigerian, 1921-1996) Dancers 1965, oil on board (45 x 35 cm approx) Estimates 20,000 - 30,000.jpg

Betty Woodman (1930-2018) Pillow Pitchercirca 1980 glazed earthenware, stamped ‘WOODMAN’

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