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date: 23 August 2019

Art marketlocked

  • Bruce Tattersall
  • , revised by Natasha Degen

Extract

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 ...

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