Women Can't Paint: Gender, the Glass Ceiling and Values in Contemporary Art

Helen Laura Gorrill

Research output: Book/ReportBook


When men sign a work of art it increases in value, yet when a woman signs her work it goes down. In this groundbreaking study of gender and value, Helen Gorrill argues that such inequality remains rife within the art world. Using a new statistical method, she constructs a database that allows her to contend that there are few aesthetic differences between men's and women's painting, but that men's art is valued up to 80 per cent more than women's. Museums, she attests are also complicit in this vicious cycle as they collect tokenist female artwork which detracts from women artists' market value. Gorrill's provocative book is essential for students, teachers, researchers and practitioners. It challenges the methodologies that have previously defined women's role in the art world and introduces striking evidence that being a woman impacts upon all forms of artistic currency; be it social, symbolic, cultural or economic.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherI.B. Tauris
Number of pages268
ISBN (Print)9781788310802
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018


  • gender
  • museum studies
  • art market
  • painting
  • equality
  • value
  • art


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