Long marginalized in histories of the era, Italian 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi is now receiving long overdue attention. She broke ground as a female artist working in a male-dominated field by rendering her women subjects not as victims but as heroes. The daughter of painter Orazio Gentileschi, she had established a career as an artist by the age of 20. Known for a style that makes use of dramatic lighting, she often alluded to the violence she endured as a young woman. Amid her rise, at age 18, she survived a sexual assault by her teacher and was subsequently tortured during a highly public trial in Rome.
In 2021, Gentileschi was the subject of a sprawling retrospective featuring some 30 paintings at the National Gallery in London. The exhibition was among the largest ever devoted to the artist. Leading up to the showcase, in July 2018, the museum purchased Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria for £3.6 million ($4.7 million).
An uptick in attention from critics and art historians has fueled Gentileschi’s rise on the art market in recent years, with her paintings commanding sums that are rare for those of a female artist of any era. Works by Gentileschi rarely come up for sale; only around 40 of her known paintings reside in museum collections around the world. In 2019, her Lucretia (ca. 1630) sold for a record-setting $5.3 million in Paris. Since that sale, her records have continued to mount at international auctions.
Below, a list of Gentileschi’s top auction prices.
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