A Huffington Post article written by Jaqueline Howard cites "a provocative new study that shows that the sexes exhibit distinct differences in how they evaluate art: men tend to place more emphasis on the artist, women on the art itself.
For the study, 518 men and women were asked to judge two unfamiliar paintings and to read a fictitious biography of the artist who painted them. Some of the study participants read a biography that characterized the artist as "authentic" or experienced, while other participants read one that characterized the artist as "ordinary" or a beginner. The men and women didn't know the biographies were fictitious.
The men and women then were asked whether they liked the artist and the artwork and whether they were interested in purchasing the artwork."
If the artist was described as authentic both men and women were more likely to want to buy the artwork. Men were more influenced by other people's opinions of the artist - good reviews by critics, awards, and the CV. Women were much more likely to evaluate the artwork on it's own merits and make a personal decision about whether or not they'd like to live with the piece.
The scientists from University of Michigan stated that they don't know of any hard wired gender based differences that would explain the difference. But I wonder... could it be that buying artwork is often about an emotional connection with the artist or the artwork. Women in general, could be more comfortable with recognizing and feeling the emotions that a piece conveys and then more likely to trust their own instincts. Men, on the other hand, are less encouraged to express emotion and may then rely more on an expert's opinion about the quality of the work.
I'll certainly consider this when I'm talking to collectors.