Sunday, May 01, 2005

a man's world

So thankful that you can now work in a "man's" world but it you think you are getting paid the equivalent by guessed wrong. This doesn't apply for just fancy lawyers and other business positions but also it affects the art world. Plain and simple: women's paintings are going for much less money than men's' paintings!! This has become a vicious cycle that has started in auction houses and trickled down to galleries.

Here are some facts from a recent NY Times article.

1. Joan Mitchell painted in 1977, is estimated to sell for $400,000 to $600,000. Works by Guston and Kline are estimated at $3 million to $4 million. The de Kooning on offer is expected to fetch $10 million to $12 million
2. Damien Hirst and Rachel Whiteread, who both came to prominence in the 1990's as so-called Y.B.A.'s: Young British Artists. Both have won the Tate museum's Turner Prize: Ms. Whiteread in 1993 and Mr. Hirst in 1995. And both have made their way into high-profile collections. Christie's suggests a value of $400,000 to $600,000. Meanwhile, Mr. Hirst's most famous early sculpture, a tiger shark suspended in a glass tank of formaldehyde, from 1992, sold in January for $13.3 million.
3. One more example. Since three emerging figurative painters - Luc Tuymans of Belgium and the Americans John Currin and Elizabeth Peyton - The two men's canvases have sold for more than $1 million. Meanwhile, Ms. Peyton's 1996 oil portrait of a languorous John Lennon is estimated by Christie's at $200,000 to $300,000.

Asking why women's art sells for less than men's elicits a long and complex answer, with endless caveats, entirely germane qualifiers and diverse, sometimes contradictory reasons. But there is also a short and simple, if unpopular, answer that none of those explanations can trump. Women's art sells for less because it is made by women.


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