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Recalculating Art

At auction, art by women sells for just 10% of the price of art by men, and a woman's signature brings the value down. Why is this the case in the seemingly progressive art world?

Art by women is literally undervalued. The highest price achieved by a contemporary female artist is $12.4m, while it is $91m for a man. If a painting is signed by a man it goes up in value, signed by a woman it goes down.

We might expect this historically, but as the majority of art students today are women, why is there such a gender value gap now?

To untangle this mystery, Mary Ann Sieghart enters a thrilling world of glitzy, high-stake auctions and make-or-break gallery decisions. She lifts the lid on the opaque world of art valuation, explores how punters react to genderless AI art, and uncovers historic collusion and contemporary bias. She asks if male artists are actually better than women and why, in the bible of the art world today, there is just one woman mentioned, as a footnote.

Pinning down work being done to level this playing field, Mary Ann talks to the galleries showing more works by women, discovering powerful women shifting the attention and canny investors who are realising maybe it is just the right time to buy.

Featured in the programme are: Frances Morris, director of Tate Modern; Prof of Finance, Renee Adams; from Sotheby’s Helena Newman and Marina Ruiz Colomer; philanthropist Valeria Napoleone, Bellatrix Hubert from David Zwirner gallery; author Helen Gorrill, art curator Naomi Polonsky, and the London Art Fair.

Producer: Sarah Bowen

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Monday 16:00

Broadcasts

  • Last Thursday 11:30
  • Monday 16:00