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A conservative art market favours men – Marlene Dumas is the most expensive living female painter but her record at auction is £3.2m for The Visitor, compared to £16.6m for a canoe painting by Peter Doig.“There are strong obstacles for women,” says Frances Morris, Director of Collection, International Art, at Tate Modern.

It may seem as though i Phones have been around forever, but time was when these little rectangles of technology would have seemed positively space age.

Lisa Yuskavage uses historical techniques in her saucy paintings of cartoon-like nudes set in atmospheric landscapes.

New Yorker Inka Essenhigh paints visionary images of nature and human-like figures.

Very different to the concerns of the 1980s which were dominated by large male figures swinging their brushes around.” The mother of this generation is Marlene Dumas who, with her haunting and sensual images, contributed to the re-emergence of figurative painting in the 1990s.

Her recent retrospective at Tate Modern filled rooms with ghostly images of men, women and children.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s portraits show black women and men set in vague surroundings or against a dark backdrop.

Younger than Dumas, there’s British artist Jenny Saville, who paints vast fleshy female figures, and fellow Brit Cecily Brown’s sensual figures hang on the edge of abstraction.Exploring subjects from politics to celebrity and pornography, it made for a powerful display.“One looks for people to look up to, that’s partly why the Marlene Dumas show is so thrilling because it’s so incredibly good on every level.I felt supported and I wasn’t really aware of being looked down upon or considered lesser because I was female.That changed when I reached my thirties.”Of course, it has never been that brilliant female painters didn’t exist, it’s just that they were blocked or hidden from public view.

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