August 2022

Recalculating Art

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, if 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.

About the author

Journalist, author, public speaker, consultant, non-executive director, broadcaster

Mary Ann Sieghart is author of the best-selling book, The Authority Gap: Why Women Are Still Taken Less Seriously Than Men, and What We Can Do About it. She spent 20 years as Assistant Editor and columnist at The Times and won a large following for her columns on politics, economics, feminism, parenthood and life in general. She has presented many programmes on BBC Radio 4, such as Start the Week, Profile, Analysis, Fallout and One to One. She chaired the revival of The Brains Trust on BBC2 and recently spent a year as a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She has chaired the Social Market Foundation think tank, is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London, and sits on numerous boards. She was Chair of the judges for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022.

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Mary Ann Sieghart