South African born artist Marlene Dumas set a new record this month for the most expensive living female artist, when her painting The Visitor, fetched £3.1 million (R47 million) at a Sotheby’s auction.
Dumas’s painting was sold to New York private dealer Nancy Whyte at the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale held in London on the 1st of July. The £3,177,250 million bid for the painting surpasses Dumas’ previous record of £1.8 million set in February 2005.
The painting shows six young sex-workers in a room looking towards a door at the end of the room. The poses of the women suggest that they are competing for their trade while anticipating the imminent arrival of a client. Described by Sotheby’s as a psychologically challenging and strikingly beautiful painting, The Visitor is a large scale (180cm x 300cm) depiction of a group of female streetwalkers.