How much do women play in the art business?

Until the middle of this century, women were not allowed to enter art schools. Today they are an important part of the market


Women Can’t Paint. It is the title of the book by the British Hellen Gorrill, where she studies the prices of 5,000 paintings sold around the world. Their conclusion is shocking: for every pound (1.7 euros) that a male artist earns for his work, a woman barely receives 10 pence (12 cents).

In Spain, for example, the Reina Sofía Museum acquired works worth 34,406 euros between 2000 and 2018. However, for the works of male artists it paid an average of 38,257 euros, while for female artists 16,405 euros , that is, 57.1% less. This disparity in economic valuation is aggravated by low visibility: only 3.7% of works exhibited in Western galleries and museums bear the signature of a woman, according to a study carried out by Artnet and Maastricht University.

Although there are encouraging indicators, such as the significant growth in the percentage of women art buyers (41.4%), the increase in their presence in positions of responsibility in the world of Culture or a greater effort on the part of the Administrations; The data is still far from reaching parity in all areas and artistic spaces.

Many women are the protagonists of some of the most recognized works of art, but few are behind the brushes that have painted them. This is reminiscent of the famous Guerrilla Girls poster from the 80s: Do women have to be naked to enter the Metropolitan?