How the art world airbrushed female artists from history
by Hannan Ellis-Petersen
“Figures compiled by the Guardian paint a dismal portrait of women artists exhibiting in major galleries, in the UK and abroad. But are things changing?…
…It is important to understand the impact this bias has had on the art world. These galleries, with outposts across America and Asia, are global tastemakers; championing artists, funding their work and introducing them to the world’s wealthiest collectors. It is still the case that the art that we consider to be the most valuable, in monetary but also cultural terms, is almost all by men. It is the reason that the museums in the world considered to have the greatest and strongest collections are the ones that boast works by Turner, Matisse, Van Gogh and Picasso, Pollock, Rothko, Koons, Hirst and Hockney. That a female equivalent for each of these artists doesn’t roll off the tongue says it all. It is also telling that the auction record for work by a deceased female artist is held by Georgia O’Keefe, for Jimson Weed/White Flower No1, which sold in 2014 for $44.4m; just 25% of the record-breaking $179m paid for Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger the following year.”
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