Mr [Iwan] Wirth [who represents artist Louise Bourgeois] complained that, while even the best-known female artists sell for around £2m-3m, lesser male artists make more money at auction: "Surely the art market, of all places, should be free of such prejudices. I was delighted to see an important painting by Dumas sell at Sotheby's for £3.2m. However, one has to compare this with works from the same sale, which included a Bacon that sold for £13.7m, a [Jean-Michel] Basquiat for £5m and a Richard Prince for £4.2 m. Female artists are the bargain in today's markets."
The writer and sociologist Sarah Thornton, whose book on the art market will be published later this year, said that only 30 per cent of works in museums and galleries are by women, while the top 100 artists at auction in 2007 includes only four women, with the highest at No 49.
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