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Armory Show  

Judith Zilczer

[International Exhibition of Modern Art]

Exhibition of art held between 17 February and 15 March 1913 in New York at the 69th Regiment Armory, Lexington Avenue, Manhattan (see fig.), from which it derived its nickname. The exhibition then travelled to the Art Institute of Chicago (24 March–16 April) and Copley Hall, Boston (28 April–19 May). This first large-scale show of modern art held in the USA (see United States of America, §III, 3) resulted from the independent campaign of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, a group of progressive artists formed in 1912 to oppose the National Academy of Design and to broaden exhibition opportunities for American artists. Davies, Arthur B(owen), the president of the group, and Kuhn, Walt were determined to present an international survey for the first in what was to have been a series of exhibitions. The Armory Show was modelled on the Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne (...


Arnault, Bernard  

Bénédicte Martin

(b Roubaix, March 5, 1949).

French businessman, patron, and collector. Born into an industrial family from northern France, Bernard Arnault studied at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. After completing his studies, Arnault took over the family’s construction business, Ferret-Savinel, which he converted into a real estate company by the name of Ferinel in the 1980s. He then took over the Boussac Group, which was facing financial difficulties but controlled the department store Le Bon Marché and the fashion label Dior, among other assets. The ‘Arnault System’, which evolved from these moves, relied on a series of acquisitions that culminated on 13 January 1989 in his being appointed chairman of France’s foremost luxury goods conglomerate, Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH). With a net worth of an estimated 37.2 billion euros in 2015, Bernard Arnault became the second wealthiest individual in France. The entrepreneurial structure of the French luxury industry is oligopolistic, with three international conglomerates dividing the market among themselves: LVMH, PPR (Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, controlling Gucci), and Richemont. This structure was created through the absorption of a number of independent small-scale businesses (so-called PMEs) associated with specific products and well-known brands. Since the late 20th century, the luxury houses have maintained privileged relationships with the art market. Window displays of luxury brands are frequently designed by artists, while the auction houses play more and more with the codes of the luxury industry, making the demarcations between these two worlds increasingly tenuous; art is central to the marketing strategy of the LVMH group....


Arrowsmith, Charles  

French, 19th century, male.

Born 1798, in Paris.

Painter, picture dealer. Panoramas.

Charles Arrowsmith studied with Daguerre and painted dioramas alongside him. He exhibited in Paris in 1827, in Douai in 1829, and at the Royal Academy in London in 1830. He was responsible for promoting English watercolourists and introducing them and also Constable to a broader public in France....


Art adviser  

Molly K. Dorkin

[art consultant]

Paid adviser employed by collectors to recommend and facilitate the purchase of works of art. There is a long history of recruitment of art experts by wealthy patrons for advisery purposes. In the 18th century art historians such as Johann Joachim Winckelmann were actively advising leading collectors like Albani family §(2). In the early 20th century the English dealer Joseph Duveen earned a knighthood for his philanthropic efforts on behalf of British galleries. Enlisted by the so-called American Robber Barons for advice in forming collections, Duveen brokered the sale of many notable Old Masters from English aristocrats to American millionaires, including Henry Clay Frick, J. P. Morgan, Henry E. Huntington, and Andrew Mellon. Their collections ultimately formed the nuclei of many great American museums. Duveen’s contemporary Bernard Berenson was an American scholar and expert on Renaissance painting who turned his hand to art advising. Berenson assisted Isabella Stewart Gardner in forming her renowned collection of Renaissance art. His legacy as an academic is controversial thanks to his habit of accepting payment in exchange for favourable ...


Art Basel  

Thomas P. McNulty

International modern and contemporary art fair. The brainchild of three Swiss art dealers (Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner, and Balz Hilt), the first annual Art Basel fair was held in 1970, at which 90 galleries and 30 publishers from 10 countries exhibited. Participation has grown significantly, with its 2014 iteration showcasing 527 galleries in its three locations (Basle, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong).

In terms of longevity, Art Basel is exceeded only by Art Cologne, the current name for the international fair that was first held in September 1967 as Kölner Kunstmarkt. Art Basel was, from the start, international in scope; Art Cologne, by contrast, allowed only German galleries to participate. In its earliest days, Art Basel projected a democratic, almost populist image; in addition to its inclusion of large, unique masterworks by established contemporary artists, it also offered a wide range of prints and other multiples, which were within the reach of new collectors with relatively modest budgets....


Art biennials in Latin America  

Iliana Cepero

Latin American art has held a strong place in the international market since the 1990s, with markedly less speculation than other geographic areas, such as in China. However, the growth of international exhibitions in Latin America has helped to increase the visibility of modern and contemporary Latin American artists on the global stage, both expanding awareness of regional traditions and dispelling stereotypical notions of a monocultural Latin American style.

The São Paulo Art Biennial, the second oldest art biennial in the world, was founded in 1951 under the auspices of the Italian Brazilian industrialist and arts patron Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho (also known as Ciccillo Matarazzo) and his wife Yolanda Penteado. Initially conceived as an extension of the then recently established Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (1948), the Biennial aimed to provide knowledge of contemporary art trends—primarily from Europe and the United States—to the Brazilian art world while also spotlighting Brazil as an international contemporary art center. Modeled after the Venice Biennale, the São Paulo Biennial in its early years was organized around national pavilions (“National Representations”) exhibiting works from Brazilian artists and those from countries participating in the event via diplomatic invitation. In the early 2000s this format was completely abandoned; only the display of Brazilian art works and international exhibitions organized by rotating chief curators remained. Since ...


Art dealer  

Lee Sorensen

Person who sells, resells, or distributes works of art to third-party clients. Dealers are sometimes referred to as gallery directors or gallerists. Although some artists may personally sell their own art works and auction houses may place works of art up for public bidding, the profession of art dealing remains an entity distinct from these trades. Art dealing as a profession is intimately tied to the activities of private collectors, art historians, and the wider economy.

Art dealers emerged as a class of professionals whose work represented a blend of disparate traditions in the ancient world. No clear point marks the beginning of commerce in art as a departure from regular trade. Cicero mentions a sculpture dealer, Licinius Damasippus, with whom he considered doing business (ad Fam. vii.23). Arkesilas, an art restorer and friend of Julius Caesar, also dealt professionally in objects, together with others located in the Saepta and the Via Sacra in Rome....


The art historical canon and the market  

Joseph R. Givens

The origins of the term and concept of the “canon” can be traced to antiquity when the Greek word for “measuring stick,” or kanon, originated, but the meaning and connotations of the term canon has changed over the course of the history of art. In this context, the canon is a flexible construct used to identify exceptional artworks, selected by authority, against which all other artworks were to be judged. The idea became a central focus of western artistic production during the 18th and 19th centuries, when academic institutions, the center of power and influence in the art world, used rigid and hierarchical models to develop an “academic style” which valued, in form, a stoic realism and, in content, neoclassical themes. With the introduction of the avant-garde and modernism in the 20th century, the field of art became a more open system with artists and galleries challenging canonical norms. However, academic institutions maintained their defense of the art historical canon until the late 1950s....


Art index  

Christophe Spaenjers

Statistical measure showing the development of art prices since a chosen base year. Index series are often represented as graphs, and allow for a comparison with the performance of other assets. An index also enables the measurement of the correlation of art returns with changes in valuations of other investments. Two techniques are commonly used to construct an art price index based on auction transaction data. First, so-called ‘hedonic’ methods use all available sales information to measure changes in quality-adjusted average transaction prices. Second, ‘repeat-sales’ regression models only use price information on artworks for which at least two transactions are observed to estimate the average return in each period.

Measuring the returns to art Investments is not methodologically straightforward. While for a publicly traded financial asset (e.g. a stock in a large company) a price can typically be observed on any given day, in the Art market each item is unique and trades only very infrequently. Ideally, an art index would track the total monetary value of a representative portfolio of objects over time, but this is not possible as we do not observe prices for the same set of artworks in every period. For this reason, even an index based on unadjusted average prices will not accurately capture changes in the willingness to pay for art over time. For example, even if the average price of all transacted artworks is twice as large in one period compared to the previous one, this does not mean that the typical item has doubled in value; it could be that in the second period there were more transactions of relatively more attractive works....


Art legislation  

Laurie A. Morin

revised by Friederike Gräfin von Brühl

Multilateral treaties and bilateral agreements relating to art, made largely in the latter part of the 20th century. These agreements were set up by nations in response to an unprecedented combination of political, economic, and technological changes affecting the art world, especially the tension between the demand for a free international art market and the need for countries to protect their own resources. This need for regulation is manifested in two important legislative areas: the increasing demand among developed nations for global recognition of their intellectual property rights, and the increasing demand among emerging nations for legislation to protect their cultural properties.

“Intellectual property” is the legal term used to describe statutorily protected intangible rights of artists to their creations. Intellectual property rights are separate from the property rights that are intrinsic to the tangible work (i.e. painting, sculpture, etc.) when it is sold or transferred, and are inalienable from the creator, unless they are expressly transferred. The three most important intellectual property rights are copyright, ...


Art market  

Bruce Tattersall

revised by Natasha Degen

The arena in which a buyer seeks to acquire, either directly or through an agent, a particular work of art for reasons of aesthetics, connoisseurship, investment, or speculation. The historical beginnings of the art market lie in patronage. With the growth of Collecting for aesthetic and worldly motives rather than religious ones came a corresponding growth in dealing, with the dealer acting as middleman as the number of artists and collectors increased and spread geographically. The dealer, often an artist, discovered and promoted other artists and persuaded collectors to buy at a price determined by him. His role was strengthened by the 16th-century distinction between artist and artisan and the concept of a Masterpiece. This precept, allied to a growing antiquarian interest, reinforced the position of the dealer as arbiter of taste, and his status was further enhanced as great collections were amassed and disposed of in the 16th and 17th centuries. During this period collecting became popular with the middle classes and the art market expanded accordingly; the sale of art by ...


Art market and the press  

Anne Helmreich

Over the modern period, the art market and the press (referring to the publishing apparatus associated with news reporting) developed a close symbiotic relationship as borne out in the histories that unfolded in western Europe and North America. When The Times of London launched in 1785, for example, it included listings of ‘Sales by Auction’; an advertising section that flagged up such goods as ‘fine Paintings, some of which are by esteemed Masters’ (1 Jan 1785, 4). The press and the art market were driven by a similar need to reach the educated classes who were willing to pay for information and opinion, and likely to have the discretionary income to acquire art. Both the press and the art market also expanded over the course of the 19th century, benefiting from the rapid growth of the middle classes as well as technological changes, such as the development of the steam ship and railroad, which sped up the exchange of information and goods. Likewise, the establishment and commercialization of the Internet at the turn of the 21st century brought a new level of visibility to the intersection of the press and the art market....


Art market bubbles and crashes  

Iain Robertson

Art markets have opened and closed throughout history; there is evidence of a trade in seals, crafted in lapis lazuli in eastern Iran, along a route that included Mesopotamia, Syria, the Levantine, and Egyptian Thebes during the time of Tuthmosis III (reg c. 1479–c. 1426 bc). Whether this trade was speculative (that is, without having been ordered by a single client or institution) is uncertain. In China, from the Song dynasty (960–1279), a market economy established the basis for an anonymous relationship between a buyer and a seller. This extended to the exchange works of art. There is anecdotal evidence in Cicero of a speculative art market in ancient Rome, although the distinction between an art dealer as opposed to an art procurer is not made clear (see also Collection and display of Classical art, §I, 2). The modern art market, with its auctions, art fairs, art dealers, and speculative production, begins in the Low Countries in the 17th century (...


Art market in Australia, 1995–2010  

Annette Larkin

The collecting cycles and art market trends in Australia from 1995 to 2010 clearly reflected the developments in art markets all around the world. The market for all periods in Australian art peaked in 2007, decreasing by a third before forming a plateau. Primarily, the building of Australian art collections dominated art sales, with only a small percentage of collectors involved in collecting international art. Although the latter was a growing trend, accessibility to the international art market limited this area of collecting.

During this period the collecting base in Australia broadened enormously in all areas of collecting, with Australian modern art (1940–70), contemporary art (1970–to present) and indigenous art being most sought after, exhibited and documented. Generally the market followed the same peaks and troughs seen elsewhere, without experiencing the same meteoric rises from the speculative and hedge fund-based money that were visible in other major centres. Although ...


The art market in the 21st century  

Natasha Degen

While the art market in the 21st century is small relative to other creative industries—and negligible in comparison to financial markets—it is bigger than ever before in terms of its geographical scope, consumer base, and influence on culture at large. Since the turn of the millennium it has expanded dramatically, even in the face of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. From 2000 to 2007 the size of the art market grew nearly threefold. After a brief contraction of 33% in 2009, the market recovered and achieved a historic peak of $68.2 billion in 2014, despite having since cooled (in 2017, sales totaled $63.7 billion; McAndrew 2018). Boosted by the rise of China and increasing wealth inequality, the art market has been reshaped by trends in the broader economy: globalization, privatization, and financialization. As the market adjusts to these new conditions, it has entered a transitional phase, with its business models evolving and its reach widening....


Art-related finance  

Christophe Spaenjers

Set of financial methods, instruments, and business models that are used in the Art market. Important developments since the 1960s include the spreading availability and use of art price information and price indexes (see Art index), the emergence of loans collateralized by artworks, repeated efforts to create art investment structures, and a strong growth in art market advisory services provided by wealth managers and new entrepreneurs (see also Investment).

The first major development has been the spread of art price information and art price indexes over the last half-century. After a few difficult decades, art price levels and public interest in the art market were going up again in the 1950s and 1960s. A number of books on the history of the art market and on art investment that were published around that time—Le Vie Etrange des Objets (1959) by Maurice Rheims, Art as an Investment...



Bénédicte Martin

French auction company, headquartered in one of the most prestigious hôtels particuliers at the intersection of the Champs Elysées and the Avenue Montaigne in Paris. Artcurial was created in 2001 and specializes in fine art sales, design, and fashion; it also has built a reputation for sales of multiples, including comics and photographs, as well as watches, jewellery, and collectable cars. The rise of France’s foremost domestically owned auction house should be perceived in the context of events unfolding in 1992, when Sotheby’s filed a complaint with the European Commission against France’s state monopoly of auctioneers clustered in the Hôtel Drouot, alleging impediments to free competition. In 1995 France was given formal notice by the Commission to reform the status of auctioneers. Five years later, on 10 July 2000, this led to the passage of law number 2000-642. The law’s main provision was the abolition of the state’s auction monopoly and the removal of the auctioneers’ status as ministerial officials. The law’s passage reshuffled the French art market. Until then, the distinction between auction houses and galleries was rigid and narrowly defined: art dealers were able to organize private sales only, while auctioneers could not engage in public sales of new goods and bulk merchandise....


Astor, William Waldorf, 1st Viscount  

Geoffrey Waywell

(b New York, March 31, 1848; d Hever Castle, Kent, Oct 18, 1919).

British collector of American birth. He was a member of a wealthy family whose fortune came from fur trading; he became interested in art and antiquity during his appointment as American Minister in Rome (1882–5), rapidly acquiring a fine collection of ancient and Renaissance sculpture. He transferred the collection to England when his term as minister ended, dividing it between his country houses at Cliveden, Bucks, and Hever Castle, Kent. His eclectic, Neo-classical displays were in keeping with the nostalgic grandeur of Edwardian England. At Cliveden, eight Roman sarcophagi in the forecourt were matched on the rear terraces by Renaissance fountains and balustrades exported from the Villa Borghese in Rome. Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, was restored and enlarged by Astor far beyond its medieval extent, and a Renaissance atmosphere was achieved by means of the placement of numerous Roman sculptures, including further fine sarcophagi (sold in ...



Molly K. Dorkin

Prior to the 20th century, the attribution of works of art was not governed by rigid regulations, and art dealers and auctioneers assigned attributions based purely on aesthetic grounds. Works were attributed to the artist whose manner they most closely resembled, but they were not further distinguished on the basis of quality; as a result, many paintings purchased as Renaissance masterpieces in the 18th or 19th century have since been downgraded to studio works or even much later pastiches.

Historically, the patrons who commissioned Old Masters placed a premium on subject-matter rather than originality, and popular narratives were requested by multiple patrons, creating conditions in which the demand for copies could flourish (see Copy). Popular compositions were often reproduced many times: by the master himself, an apprentice in his workshop, or even a later follower or imitator. A master trained his apprentices to approximate his manner as closely as possible, and sold the finished work under his own name. In some cases a master would paint the most important part of a work (such as the faces of the central figures) before delegating the rest to apprentices. Through the 19th century, pupils at prestigious institutions were taught by making copies of works by acknowledged masters. Many pieces, particularly drawings (which for much of their history were working tools, rather than art objects), were unsigned. Damaged or incomplete works of art were subjected to extensive restoration or reworking by later artists, a process that can cloud the question of attribution....


Aubry, Georges  

French, 20th century, male.

Born in Gentilly.

Painter. Landscapes, urban landscapes, flowers.

Georges Aubry exhibited at the Salon d'Automne between 1920 and 1938. He was also an art dealer.

Detroit: Hut in the Sunshine (1923)

Paris, 27 March 1944...