It is a far cry from the international standard, where approximately 90% all works of art exhibited in major collection are by men. Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed/White Flower No. does a woman artist create the most costly painting. The top 100 most expensive paintings have never sold.
Why does women’s work receive less value than that of men?
Can you guess which artist is male or female? C Peeters/O Beert
Some economists claim that women are less likely to be successful in the arts because of the heavier burden of childcare and domestic duties.
Other critics have blamed women’s artwork for its ” -quality“. In 2013, German painter Georg Baselitz said, “Women don’t paint very well. It’s true. “The market does not lie.”
We asked: Is it because women’s work is generally of lower quality than that of men, or just discrimination?
Read more: Why weren’t there any great women artists? In gratitude to Linda Nochlin
Which painting do you like better?
In , our new research, we presented to Americans average pairs of paintings painted between 1625-1979, side-by-side. The paintings in each pair are similar, both in terms of style, theme and time period. However, one was painted by a man and the other by a woman.
Two groups were formed. The participants were divided into two groups. One group was shown the names of the artists, and the other did not. We were interested in whether those who saw the names of the artists preferred male paintings more than those who didn’t.
Which of these paintings is the most valuable to you? E Gonzales/G Caillebotte
When people prefer male art because they can infer the gender of the artist by looking at their names, this is a form of gender discrimination.
Think about the results you expected before we reveal them. Take a look and try to guess which of our painting pairs is male (hint: You can’t).
We were surprised to discover that our participants didn’t give a damn about the gender of the artist. In both groups, 54% of participants preferred the paintings by women.
This time, we rewarded participants who correctly guessed the preferences of the other people – those in the first experiment.
In both groups, 54% chose the female painting.
54% of participants preferred the painting by a female. LC Breslau/RL Reid
Which painting is more valuable to you?
We then wanted to know if people chose male paintings other than for personal preference. Art is not just purchased and sold for its aesthetic value. It is also a market where art is used as an investment.
Two more experiments were conducted. In the first experiment, participants received a reward if they chose the painting that was more expensive. In the second, participants were rewarded for choosing the painting painted by a more famous artist.
Both experiments revealed gender discrimination. People suddenly chose male artists when asked to estimate the value and fame of paintings. In these two experiments, the preference for female artworks dropped by 10% and 9%.
Does art by women have less appeal than art by men? J Leyster/B Assteyn
The reason for gender discrimination in the arts is not personal preference, as Baselitz argued that women “don’t paint very well”, but because people think paintings by male artists are more valuable and popular.
The question of Fame
In our fifth experiment, we again rewarded those who correctly guessed which painting others would prefer. Everyone saw the names this time. Only one group knew which artist was more popular – in 90% of the cases, the male.
This group was 14% more likely than the others to choose male paintings. The people used the fame to predict which painting other people liked more.