The 4 Glass Ceilings: How Women Artists Get Stiffed at Every Stage of Their Careers BY Julia Halperin / ARTNET NEWS

Artist Helen Frankenthaler in 1956. Photo by Gordon Parks/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images. Copyright the Gordon Parks Foundation.

Several new studies examine precisely how much worse women fare in the art market than their male peers. It’s not a pretty picture.

By now, it has been well established that it’s hard for female artists to make it in the art world. But when it comes to attaining art-market success, new research suggests it’s even more difficult for women than you may have thought.

The dismal findings are part of a joint study released this week by artnet Analytics and Maastricht University, and they quantify what many female artists already know too well: Men rule the art market, while women must struggle to move up each and every rung of the ladder.

The study’s authors—Fabian Bocart, Marina Gertsberg, and Rachel Pownall—used artnet’s database to examine 2.7 million auction results for Western artists, compiled from public sales between 2000 and 2017; they also scrutinized the rosters of 1,000 galleries in artnet’s gallery network, which cumulatively represent 4,750 living Western artists.

The authors describe the project as the largest empirical study ever conducted on gender discrimination in the cultural sector. And the results, they say, “reveal strong evidence for discrimination against female artists in the market for fine art.”

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