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in brief: german artist, georg baselitz claims women can’t be great artists

'Stillleben mit Weiber Lampe.' 1906. Paula Modersohn-Becker

‘Stillleben mit Weiber Lampe.’ 1906. Paula Modersohn-Becker

German artist Georg Baselitz has sparked backlash, recently telling a newspaper that women cannot paint well.

Baselitz has dismissed female painters – even the most iconic like Frida Kahlo – saying that they ‘simply don’t pass the market test, the value test.’

Despite making up the majority of art students, Baselitz claims that women lack the basic character to become great painters.

In an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel, Baselitz did manage to concede a few exceptions to his sexist remarks, however, following his praise for Paula Modersohn-Becker, he added ‘she is no Picasso, no Modigliani and no Gauguin.’

Griselda Pollock, professor of the social and critical history of art at the University of Leeds, responded, ‘the most boring of all arguments is that men are better than women. It’s self-evidently nonsense.’

While most would agree with Pollock, it is disturbing to find that Baselitz is not alone in his sexist elitism.

In 2008, Brian Sewell said that there has ‘never been a first-rank women artist’, referring to a few female artists as ‘second and third rank.’

In 1937, artist Hans Hofmann said that Lee Krasner’s work was ‘so good, you would not know it was painted by a woman.’

While Baselitz, and a few others, may dismiss female’s work as being below male’s, we only have to look at some of history’s most famous and influential painters, many of whom are female, to know this claim is baseless and offensive.

It is, after all, only the opinion of one man.

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