Breaking the Glass Canvas: The Struggle of Women Artists in the Art World

As an expert in the art world, I have witnessed firsthand the challenges that women artists face in their careers. Despite earning 70% of Fine Arts degrees and 65-75% of Fine Arts master's degrees in the U. S., women continue to be underrepresented and undervalued in the art world. This is evident not only in the gender pay gap, but also in the prices of their artwork compared to their male counterparts. It is no surprise that women artists bear the brunt of the brush when it comes to success in the art world.

Throughout history, women have been marginalized and excluded from the art world, with their contributions often overlooked or attributed to male artists. This systemic discrimination has had a lasting impact on the representation and recognition of female artists. Amy Cappellazzo, a renowned art consultant and former director of contemporary and post-war art at Christie's, acknowledges that while there has been progress in recent years, there is still a long way to go. In an interview with ArtNews, she stated that the market is “constantly improving for women at a faster rate in the last five years than in the previous 50 years.” However, this progress is slow and incremental, and there are still significant barriers that prevent women from achieving equal success in the art world. Art critic Ben Davis points to external factors such as socialization and systemic economic disparity as key contributors to the discrimination of female artists. From a young age, girls are often discouraged from pursuing careers in the arts and are instead pushed towards more “feminine” fields.

This societal pressure can lead to a lack of confidence and self-doubt among female artists, making it more difficult for them to succeed in a male-dominated industry. In addition, the annual survey of art collectors with large assets conducted by Art Basel and UBS has revealed a steady increase in the representation of female artists in collections in recent years. This is a positive sign, but it does not fully address the underlying issues that contribute to the gender gap in the art world. Researchers have found that gender differences in art do not explain the significant difference in prices between male and female artists. So why do works by female artists sell for a fraction of the prices of comparable works by male artists? The answer lies in the systemic discrimination and undervaluation of women's contributions to the art world. This is evident not only in the prices of their artwork, but also in the representation of women in galleries, museums, and major art institutions. As an expert, I believe that it is crucial for the art world to address these issues and work towards creating a more equitable and inclusive environment for women artists.

This includes promoting and supporting the work of female artists, as well as challenging societal norms and biases that perpetuate gender inequality in the arts.