Picture from Tracey Emin’s show: ‘She Lay Down Deep Beneath the Sea’
After centuries of being regarded as second class to men, it seems that finally the tables have turned and that women are no longer merely enjoying a sense of equality in areas, but are developing their own niches with women only floors in hotels, night clubs and gyms . So why is it that women still seem to lag behind in the art world, even today, the works of female artists seem to reach only a tenth of their male counterparts. Tracey Emin and Damian Hirst arguably share similar status and dominance in today’s art market, yet Hirst’s pieces carry much larger price tags.
It was once taught and thought that women played no role in the history of art, something that Dana Arnold picked up on during her studies at UCLA. Since leaving her research has focused on the ways in which, art history is interpreted and the roles women have played. The truth simply is that the role of women has to one degree or another simply been ignored. As in other areas, the annuals of history and the rules of what makes a masterpiece was laid out by men for the benefit of men leaving little room for women.
Despite histories ignorance women have been present and have played an important role. The Bayeux Tapestry was created by nuns, the Early Renaissance saw the arrival of named female artists such as Lavinia Fontana and Sofonisba Anguisciola, before being ousted in the latter stages of the movement. It was women who hand painted the Wedgewood vases and porcelain that is so highly regarded today. In fact their role and contribution to the popular culture of their time arguably outstrips that of males in the same period. Indeed, it is only due to their ostracism from high culture that they were deemed academically irrelevant for so long.
This began to chance when in the 20th century, a surge of innovation and discovery questioned traditional views and the perception of women artists. Women made further gains, such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois, Camille Claudel, Sonia Delaunay, Laura Knight, Zinaida Serebriakova, Tamara de Lempicka and Natalia Goncharova. Culminating with Rachel Whiteread becoming the first woman to win the Turner Prize in 1993.
As our culture continues to embrace the role of women, the once held firm beliefs of women’s role within art are set to change. At the gallery we have already noticed a shift in this direction with 2 of top selling artists being women, Xue Wang and Gail Troth. With more interest and attention being paid to female artists than ever before, it seems likely that the value of both old and new works by female artists is set to rise.
‘Eternal Landscape in Blue’ by Gail Troth
Oil on Canvas
47″ x 15.5″
£995 or 10 monthly installments of just £99.50