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Article

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 ...

Article

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....

Article

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....

Article

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, ...

Article

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....

Article

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 ...

Article

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...

Article

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....

Article

From the 1990s onwards, Australian contemporary art experienced significant growth in exhibition venues, both quantitatively, in terms of the number and scale of available spaces, and qualitatively, in terms of their scope, ambition and critical impact. The boom in physical exhibition spaces including museums, artist spaces, and commercial and non-profit galleries on the one hand and, on the other, the boom in such event-based institutions as biennales, triennials and festivals is consistent with global trends but also sits within the more general process of increasing confidence and internationalization of Australian art and its institutions that has been under way since the late 1960s. As such, these changes were a response to the country’s specific geographical and cultural conditions, and to shifts within art practice itself. It is important to note, however, that they have been neither constant nor consistent, and have involved significant challenges at the level of sustainability.

Australia was a relative latecomer to dedicated institutional support for contemporary art, with the country’s first and only public contemporary art museum opening in Sydney in ...

Article

Thierry Lenain

The concept that a thing (person, object, type of behaviour, etc.) is what it seems, or is said, or believed to be. Implicit in the very notion of authenticity is the possibility of misrepresentation. In essence, to be authentic is to be the opposite of fake or phony. Authenticity is judged by performing tests to verify that external appearance and substantial reality actually match. An artwork can be deemed ‘authentic’ as a work of art (as opposed to a mere product without artistic value); as the product of a particular artist (a Monet, rather than a work by another artist in his style); as an artefact of a specific time (a 14th-century sculpture, as opposed to a Gothic Revival imitation); or as an object composed of a particular material (a bronze sculpture, versus one made of plaster with a bronze-like patina).

Each judgement of authenticity is based on a different set of criteria. To conclude that someone is authentic as a person is to say that his or her way of behaving is in accordance with their inner self, personal values, social background, and life choices; this is a moral judgement that cannot be reduced to assessing the presence or absence of objective features. Similarly, pronouncing an object a genuine artwork denotes that it is the result of real artistic talent and sincere commitment. This assessment relies on an element of subjectivity and is always dependent on a specific cultural context that will define which class of objects can be elevated to the status of art. It also carries moral overtones as it amounts to a declaration of whether the object in question was made by a true artist acting as such, that is, by someone faithful to the essential and somehow transcendent demands of art....

Article

Chin-tao Wu

Over the two decades straddling the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, biennials and art fairs mushroomed across the globe. While art fairs have a specific commercial interest, which biennials do not necessarily possess, both are institutional structures designed to display art works on an impressively large, transnational scale. They comprise often hundreds, if not thousands, of distinct exhibits ranging from painting and sculpture in traditional modes to avant-garde installations and post-modern films and videos. While biennials and art fairs both have histories dating back many decades, the progressive globalisation of the contemporary art world since the 1980s profoundly modified these two means of exhibiting art in the public arena, and, particularly in the case of biennials, radically re-orientated their forms as well as their functions. Whether or not such changes have been accompanied by a measure of democratisation or by a meaningful re-alignment in the power structures of cultural politics, as has sometimes been maintained, remains an open question....

Article

Alex Ross

Descriptive, systematic list of objects gathered together temporarily or permanently or otherwise associated in some way. Art catalogues are compiled to serve a variety of purposes: museum and collection catalogues record the works in public or private collections; catalogues raisonnés attempt to establish the oeuvre of an artist; exhibition catalogues document the contents and intellectual thrust of temporary exhibitions; other catalogues inform potential buyers about art works available for sale at auction or in dealers’ galleries.

Because art history is concerned with works of art as physical objects, art historians have found the information about individual works in art catalogues useful. The fullness of information and scholarly apparatus provided in modern catalogues, as described below, is a recent development that roughly parallels the growth of art history as a scholarly discipline. Art inventories (or inventories of possessions that include some art objects) compiled before the 17th century, mainly by stewards, notaries, or other functionaries, are difficult to use, since their information is so meagre. It can be hard to identify a specific work when its dimensions are not given, the artist’s name omitted or the subject-matter sketchily described. An inventory (...

Article

Enrico Castelnuovo, Jaynie Anderson, Stephen B. Little, Christine M. E. Guth, S. N. Chaturvedi and Anna Tummers

Term given to the technique or art of recognizing works of art. In the Western world this particularly involves the evaluation, distinction, and appreciation of the work’s quality and, above all, the ability to determine the time and place of its execution and, as far as possible, the identity of the artist. A lack of signatures, precise documentation, and other information concerning most figurative works has meant that the establishment and development of criteria and classification and thus the practice of attribution have been highly dependent on the development of collecting and of an art market. Connoisseurship is not an exclusively Western phenomenon, however: it has evolved alongside the development of collections of art in such countries as China, where the role of the connoisseur was established as early as the Bronze Age.

Enrico Castelnuovo

In the earliest literature on the history and appreciation of art, dating to Classical times and then the Renaissance (...

Article

Copy  

Paul Duro

Manual repetition of another work of art, executed without dishonest intention. The contemporary notion of Authenticity has tended to obscure the fact that the exercise of copying has been a central feature of art practice since antiquity. Unlike the forger, the copyist produces a work that, while taking another work as its point of departure, is not intended to deceive the spectator or the buyer, although such a work may subsequently be identified and sold as an original. This difference in intention distinguishes the copy from the Forgery; the use of any other methodological or aesthetic criterion may risk confusing the two. Although engravings or photographs after another work of art are obviously copies in one sense, as reproductions they employ a mechanical process that separates them from the manual copies under discussion here (see Reproduction of works of art).

The non-fraudulent copy may be divided into three distinct but not necessarily mutually exclusive categories: the copy as a means of duplication; the copy in art education; and the copy as a starting-point for the creation of another art work (often called ...

Article

Joseph R. Givens

The sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002) developed cultural capital theory as way to examine the influence of intangible resources on the phenomena of social reproduction and social mobility. He described a society of competing classes, arranged in a hierarchy of prestige. The classes are composed of individual agents who attempt to climb the socio-economic ladder by maximizing the use of capital resources, which include both material objects of symbolic value and intangible attributes that imply prestige and power. Bourdieu identified four types of capital: economic, social, symbolic, and cultural. Economic capital represents one’s financial resources, social capital consists of one’s social support system, symbolic capital describes one’s prestige, and cultural capital includes the knowledge, values, and skills that support an understanding of cultural relations and cultural artefacts. The forms of capital are inequitably distributed among classes, and one form of capital can be converted to another. Since the value of capital is defined by social relations within a specific field, agents strategize the best way to leverage their capital for maximum gain of the valued capital within that field....

Article

Electronic transactions of art over the internet. Since the introduction of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s, e-commerce has grown to become a very important channel for the trade of goods as well as services. Several attempts to transition the art market to the internet have been made since the late 1990s and initial results have been mixed. The e-commerce of art has mainly captured the lower end of the market and only recently efforts have been made to create an electronic presence at the upper end of the market. This segmentation, in combination with concurrent technological advancements, led to new ways of experiencing art online and is driving the transformation of the art market that we see today.

Consumer markets on the internet have grown rapidly since the 1990s and, in 2014, e-commerce represented more than 6 per cent of all retail trade in the USA, growing at 15 per cent annually. Globally, it exceeds $1 trillion every year. Thus, e-commerce has grown vastly since the mid-1990s, when one of the most prominent operators of internet auctions opened to the public: eBay.com. Due to its success, eBay has become one of the most studied online markets and it has also had a large impact on many other marketplaces around the world, which, with only small modifications, have mimicked its design....

Article

Bénédicte Martin

[Cousin Pons; Paul du Crotoy; Paul du Gord]

(b Le Crotoy, Somme, Oct 23, 1837; d Cellettes, Loir et Cher, Nov 18, 1911).

French art journalist and collector. After completing his secondary studies in Nantes, Eudel sailed for the island of Réunion where he gathered materials for travel accounts to be published in various regional newspapers upon his return to Nantes. In 1871 he was elected a municipal councillor of Nantes, where he was notably responsible for the public library. After settling in Paris in 1877 to work in journalism, Eudel threw himself into collecting art, becoming a great collector and connoisseur of antique silver. As a critic he contributed to several leading art periodicals: Journal des Arts, Journal des Artistes, Revue des Arts Décoratifs, L’Opinion, La Vie Moderne, Le Figaro, Le Temps, and L’Illustration. Most notably, his reputation as the foremost art-market journalist of the 19th century was established with a series of articles published in Le Figaro, beginning in 1881, which principally covered sales in the Hôtel Drouot auction house. These essays first appeared individually in newspapers and magazines, but were reprinted in a set of year books, consisting of nine volumes, that appeared between ...

Article

Forgery  

Thierry Lenain

One of many forms of deceit wherein one attempts to make an object pass for something it is not. Within discussions of art, this object is an artwork intentionally misrepresented so as to appear substantially different from what it actually is. The fraud may affect first-degree properties of the work, such as its material constitution, artistic content, or general appearance, but may also be applied to its historical background. In some cases, part of an existing artwork may be retained while other elements are added or removed. The work as a whole can be altered so as to present an alternate reality: it may be made to appear older, or in a better state of preservation, or to represent a different subject (a royal, rather than a common subject for example), and so forth. A similar end can be achieved through the construction of a completely new object disguised as something else; this is what is usually referred to as ‘forgery’ in the narrowest sense of the word....

Article

[emerging art markets]

Since the 1980s art markets have developed rapidly outside of Europe and the USA. In the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) this development has been particularly dynamic. With aggregate sales estimated at €11.5 billion, China is the second largest market for art and antiques in the world after the USA (McAndrew 2014). Works of art made by modern and contemporary artists from all four countries regularly fetch more than $1 million at auction.

The rise of the BRICs has coincided with the global integration of what used to be local art markets: demand for and supply of particular artists or artistic movements may now be dispersed across the globe. The boom which global art markets have witnessed in the new millennium can be attributed partially to new buyers from countries like China and Russia developing an interest in art, both old and new. In describing the emergence of the BRICs, the focus in this article will be on modern and contemporary art, since that is where market development has been most significant, both qualitatively and quantitatively....

Article

Donald Wintersgill

Term applied broadly to whatever of the past is considered to hold cultural significance; closer definition has become contentious in the late 20th century. Architecture, the fine and applied arts, and objects of archaeological interest are frequently the physical objects of heritage (literature, academic learning, music, etc being other aspects), although by no means is every building or work of art regarded as significant. Exactly what is deemed part of heritage and thus worthy of preservation depends on prevailing attitudes to art and the art market, as well as notions of statehood and cultural history, and other issues regarding ownership, such as the public right of access to a particular work. The role of museums and the problems of looting form part of these issues.

Since the mid-20th century the European use of the word ‘heritage’ has taken on greater overtones of ‘nationhood’ than before: heritage is not an issue merely of preserving works, but of keeping them within the borders of the country of origin and acknowledging them as part of the nation’s culture. This concept does not appear to have been so strongly formed in the past in Europe, although the basic sentiment in heritage—that artefacts can have a historic, cultural value—can be traced back over millennia. The acquisition of art as a device of power and empire-building exemplifies the sentiment. Victorious Roman armies took booty as a kind of status symbol: the Emperor Titus, for example, returned from Jerusalem with the treasures of the Second Temple. From the Renaissance onwards, the acquisitiveness of collectors and patrons, particularly for ...