It’s raining artist records over there at Phillips de Pury & Company.
The auction house just sent over word that nine artists–Richard Serra, Rob Pruitt, Adam McEwen, Nate Lowman, Hans Peter Feldmann, Haegue Yang, Elaine Sturtevant, Jack Goldstein and Wang Shugang–earned new artist records in its two days of contemporary art sales.
None of those makes us quite as excited as the new record for Elaine Sturtevant, who has been quietly making perfect, inscrutable copies of iconic artworks for about half a century. Her painting Lichtenstein, Frighten Girl (1966) sold for $710,500 today, handily beat its estimate of $250,000-$350,000, as well as her previous record of $531,200, set in 2006 for her Marilyn Monroe-filled Warhol Diptych (1973).
Ms. Sturtevant’s work, which measures 45.5 inches by 63.75 inches, is an enlarged version of a lithograph that Lichtenstein produced three years earlier, in 1963, called Crying Girl. According to Artnet’s price database, the record for that print was set at Christie’s London in 2007, when one edition sold for £38,900 ($78,400). (Both works are on view in the slide show at left.)
Of course, before we get too excited about the female appropriationist trouncing the staid Pop master, it is worth noting that those disparate prices result from the fact that there are quite a few of those Lichtenstein women (the size of the edition, published by Castelli Gallery, is unknown), while there is only one Sturtevant Lichtenstein, Frighten Girl.
And now it has a lucky new owner.
Elaine Sturtevant, Lichtenstein, Frighten Girl, 1966
Oil and graphite on canvas, 45 1/2 x 63 3/4 inches
Sold for $710,000 at Phillips de Pury New York today
Roy Lichtenstein, Crying Girl, 1963
Offset lithograph, 17.2 x 23.2 inches, edition of unknown size
Sold for $78,400 at Christie's London in September 2007