UNDERVALUED: IS THE FUTURE OF ART FEMALE?
Until very recently, female artists have occupied a tiny space of the art market, undervalued and ignored. There are no women in the top 0.03% of the auction market, where 41% of the profit is concentrated. Overall, 96.1% of artworks sold at auction are by male artists. The most expensive work sold by a woman artist at auction, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1, sold in 2014 for $44.4 million—over four hundred million dollars less than the auction record for a male artist: Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, which sold in 2017 for $450.3 million, shattering the previous record of $179.4 million for a work by Picasso.
Now that’s changing. This year’s Venice Biennale was heavily skewed in favour of women for the first time ever. Historically, about 10% of artists in the main exhibition have tended to be women, rising to 30% in recent years; in 2019, the UK-based curator Ralph Rugoff’s exhibition achieved rough parity for the first time. Cecilia Alemani, curator of the 2022 Biennale, included approximately 90% female and gender non-conforming artists.
Who is driving this change? And how do we continue to make sure the work of female artists is given the recognition they deserve? Join Kamal Ahmed as he explores the role of women in the contemporary art market with art historian and broadcaster Katy Hessel, art historian and founder of ArtScapes Rose Balston, art market specialist Bojana Popovic, entrepreneur Marine Tanguy and patron and academic Princess Alia Al-Senussi.