Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Art & Gender Discount

"In the secondary art market, artists play no active role. This allows us to isolate cultural influences on the demand for female artists’ work from supply-side factors. Using 1.5 million auction transactions in 45 countries, we document a 47.6% gender discount in auction prices for paintings. The discount is higher in countries with greater gender inequality. In experiments, participants are unable to guess the gender of an artist simply by looking at a painting and they vary in their preferences for paintings associated with female artists. Women's art appears to sell for less because it is made by women."
Adams et al., 2017

Analysing about 1.5 million auction sales records from 1970 to 2013, the research group found that "respondents consistently ranked works they believed to have been made by male artists higher than those believed to be by female artists". This tendency could also be seen when the works had been created by an artificial intelligence. On average, works by women sell for 47.6% of the prices male artists fetch at auctions. The mean auction price for works by male artists is 48.21 dollars vs. 25.26 dollars for works by female artists (via).
"Male buyers are a driving force of the auction market and yet we see that they are also more likely to think that women’s art is inferior. Our research adds to the mounting evidence of discrimination towards women that is systemic to so many industries."
Roman Kräussl
- - - - - - -
- Adams, R. B., Kräussl, R., Navone, M. A. & Verwijmeren, P. (2017). Is Gender in the Eye of the Beholder? Identifying Cultural Attitudes with Art Auction Prices. Available at SSRN:
- image of Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) via