The Value of Art

This is the second installment of Whitney Chadwick’s Women, Art, and Society.  The introduction of the book explores art history, the woman artist, and money.

Chadwick: “Since the nineteenth century, art history has also been closely aligned with the establishing of authorship, which forms the basis of the economic valuing of Western art.  Our language and expectations about art have tended to rank that produced by women as below that produced by men in ‘quality,’ resulting in lesser monetary value.”  Art history has an incestuous relationship with the art market.  As a result, gender makes an impression on the value of art.

Women artists, alive or deceased, rarely make the top ten in auction sales.  For the month of May, the top ten most expensive works:

1. Pablo Picasso $106,482,500

2. Alberto Giacometti $53,282,500

3. Andy Warhol $32,562,500

4. Mark Rothko $31,442,500

5. Henri Matisse $28,642,500

6. Jasper Johns $28,642,500

7. Alberto Giacometti $25,842,500

8. Alberto Giacometti $20,802,500

9. Andy Warhol $18,338,500

10. Pablo Picasso $18,002,500

Value ties in with the opinion of women in art history.  Chadwick: “The bizarre but all too common transformation of the woman artist from a producer in her own right into a subject for representation forms a leitmotif in the history of art.  Confounding subject and object, it undermines the speaking position of the individual woman artist by generalizing her.  Denied her individuality, she is displaced from being a producer and becomes instead a sign for male creativity.”  This is the basis of art history and becomes an underlining factor for monetary value.

There is always room for the improvement of perception and profit.  Women artists produce artwork equal the assessment to their male counterparts.  There is no difference in quality, discernment, or standard.

Here are the links:


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