“Everyone wants to make a rediscovery,” said Lee. “In the case of Susan, she’s potentially too familiar to be part of this process of sifting back through to see what we’ve missed. But people have forgotten about some of this groundbreaking early work, not the least of which because some of it has simply been buried in storage for so long.” MoMA owns a work from the same series as Dos Equis, as does the Baltimore Museum of Art. But while some Frieze fairgoers may most readily tie Rothenberg to her husband, the market hasn’t missed her prominence, with works in the booth priced from $250,000–3 million. Thus, the sales cycle was slower for her works: “We’ve sold, but Frieze Masters is not like the other tent. It’s not fast money, fast sales,” said Lee.
Even at that price, smart money this week would be on these women—and others—who lag massively behind their male peers. The market will only continue to follow museums’ recognition that we’ve continually left a huge swath of art history on the margins and eventually, slowly, narrow that gap, rewarding those who were early to take in the full picture. Until then, having better art on your wall for less money isn’t a bad thing at all—especially when the economic and political outlook is hazy at best.