The GuardianThe Guardian

‘Mind-blowing’: Why do men’s paintings cost 10 times more than women’s?

By Mary Ann Sieghart

02 Aug 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

The Old Masters are valued highest but even among living artists the disparity holds. The art market needs reevaluating.

Are men 10 times better at painting than women? You might think so if you listened to the German artist Georg Baselitz, who famously told the Guardian in 2015 that “women don’t paint very well. It’s a fact. The market doesn’t lie.”

The market may not be deliberately deceiving us but it certainly gives the impression that male artists are much better than female ones. The most expensive painting ever sold – Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci – fetched $450m while the world record for a female artist, Georgia O’Keeffe, is just $44.4m, a tenth as much.

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