Setting a new record for the category of world’s most expensive living female artist is a South African born artist Marlene Dumas. And this is made possible via her painting, popularly known as The Visitor, that generated sales of £3.1 million at a Sotheby’s auction. The painting was picked up by the New York private dealer Nancy Whyte during Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale scheduled on 1 July. The sales figure overshadowed Dumas’ preceding testimony of ¬£1.8 million marked in February 2005.
The illustration is defined by Sotheby’s as an expressively demanding and noticeably beautiful. Spread over a canvas of 180cm x 300cm, the Visitor portrays a group of six-female sex-workers eyeing towards an illuminated door. The standing position of the women implies that they are contending for their deal while expecting the looming entrance of a punter. More than anything, Dumas work has invited criticism evoking issues like birth, death, sex, life, race, identity, motherhood and feminism.