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Article

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....

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

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....

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

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

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....

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

Chinese auction house established in 2005. Before the foundation of Beijing Poly International Auction Company (Beijing Poly Auction), China Guardian was the largest auction business in China. Since taking over China Guardian in 2010, Beijing Poly Auction became the foremost auctioneer and the world’s third largest auction company in terms of auction sales turnover, after Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The rise of Beijing Poly Auction, as well as other auction houses in mainland China, above their Western competitors can be explained by the high tax rates applicable to foreign companies as well as government regulations in the antiques trade applied to foreign companies. Beijing Poly Auction specialized in fields benefiting from the boom in the Chinese art market since the turn of the 21st century: Chinese traditional paintings and calligraphy, Chinese modern and contemporary paintings, antiques and ceramics, rare books and manuscripts, jewellery, and wine. According to the 2014 Global Chinese Art Auction Market Report conducted by the China Association of Auctioneers and Artnet, Beijing Poly International Auction’s turnover accounted for 14 per cent in global market share, by value, of Chinese art and antiques....

Article

Malcolm Gee

(b Berlin, Jan 6, 1914; d Paris, Feb 23, 2007).

German American art dealer and collector, active in France. Berggruen came from a middle-class Jewish family. He immigrated to the USA in 1937, and was granted American citizenship in 1941. He served in the army between 1942 and 1945. After a period working as a journalist in Munich and in the museum section of UNESCO, he set up as an art dealer in Paris in 1948, based from 1950 onwards in a modest gallery on the Rue de l’Université. The Berggruen Gallery specialized in modern graphic art, including Pablo Picasso, and was the principal source in Paris of the work of Paul Klee. Berggruen retired in 1980 and focused on his personal collection of classic modern art. In 1996 Berggruen was invited to put his collection on public display in Berlin in what was originally barracks for the Gardes du Corps, designed by Friedrich August Stüler, where it was known as the Berggruen Collection. In ...

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

Bénédicte Martin

(b 1939).

French art dealer. Blondel became active as an art dealer in Paris in the late 1960s, and his high-profile gallery in the Marais district closed in December 2014. Blondel is best remembered for restoring attention, in the market and in the scholar community, to figurative painters from between the two world wars such as Tamara de Lempicka, Aleksandr Yakovlev, and Bernard Boutet de Monvel (1881–1949). Blondel was also interested in the applied arts, dealing for instance in Jean-Jacques Ruhlmann furniture and Gallé glass, when few collectors were interested in these objects. After studying architecture, Blondel became keenly interested in art, developing a special fascination with Hector Guimard, the Art Nouveau architect and furniture designer who famously created the iconic Parisian Métro entrances. In 1966 Blondel’s passion inspired him to open his first gallery, the Galerie des quatre vents (Gallery of Four Winds), in the sixth arrondissement of Paris. His intention at the time was to re-value forgotten artists from the first half of the 20th century. Due to public indifference, many paintings and objects from this period were very accessibly priced. Demand for such objects was very low, and a functioning market for this niche hardly existed. At the same time, Blondel and Laurent Sully Jaulmes began an urban photography project, which they pursued between ...

Article

Bonhams  

Molly K. Dorkin

[Jones and Bonham; Bonhams & Brooks; Bonhams & Butterfields; Bonhams & Goodman]

Auction house established in London 1793 by William Charles Bonham, a book dealer (also recorded as Walter Bonham), and George Jones, from a gallery founded by Thomas Dodd (1771–1850), a dealer in antiquarian prints. Bonhams originally specialized in sales of prints in the 18th and 19th centuries, at which time the market was robust. By the 19th century Bonhams was also holding sales of antiques, which were advertised in the London press alongside similar offerings from Christie’s and Phillips. In the 1820s Dodd and fellow print dealer Martin Colnaghi catalogued the print collection belonging to Horace Walpole prior to its sale. Dodd and Colnaghi also catalogued the 50,000 works in the collection of Francis Douce for their donation to the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. By the 1850s Jones’s son Henry and Bonham’s son George had taken over the business, which became known as Jones and Bonham. Paintings had been offered in their sales alongside print collections since the 1840s....

Article

Thomas P. McNulty

American philanthropists and art collectors. Eli Broad (b New York, June 6, 1933) spent most of his youth in Detroit, MI. In 1954 he graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in accounting, and married Edythe Lois Lawson. Upon graduation, Eli Broad began his career as a professional accountant but changed course when in 1957 he co-founded (with Donald Kaufman, a builder) the Detroit company Kaufman & Broad, which produced inexpensive homes for the rapidly expanding post–World War II population.

Kaufman & Broad attained considerable success in the 1950s, and continued to expand in the decades that followed. In an attempt to diversify its income stream, Kaufman & Broad entered the insurance market, beginning with its acquisition of Sun Life Insurance in the late 1970s, and its addition of a second insurance firm—Coastal States Corp.—by the mid-1980s. With the acquisition of still more insurance and financial companies, Broad’s holdings were organized under a new firm—Broad Inc.—later renamed SunAmerica, which in turn would be acquired by the international insurance giant American International Group (AIG). Broad remained with AIG through to the end of the 1990s, when he retired and, with his wife Edythe, began to pursue their interests in collecting and philanthropy....

Article

[CPPC; Cisneros Collection]

Collection of Latin American art based in New York and Caracas. Founded in the 1970s by Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and her husband, Gustavo A. Cisneros, the mission of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) is to support art education throughout Latin America, and to promote the region’s vast contributions to the visual arts internationally. To this end, under the auspices of the Fundación Cisneros, the CPPC supports a rich and varied programme of collecting, exhibitions, and publications. The CPPC is organized around five major sub-collections: modern art, contemporary art, colonial art, the work of artists who recorded their travels to Latin America, and the art of the Orinoco region.

The modern art collection includes a great many important works by 20th-century Latin American artists, particularly geometric abstractionists from such countries as Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and the Cisneros’ native Venezuela. This segment of the collection takes on a global aspect, with the inclusion of major European and North American artists whose work relates to the masters of Latin American art. Representative modernists include Joaquín Torres García, Gego, Lygia Clark, Roberto Matta, Hélio Oiticica, Francisco Narváez, and Alejandro Otero, among others....

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

Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi

[Biennale of Contemporary African Art]

Dak’Art was established by the Senegalese government as the first art biennial in sub-Saharan Africa in 1989. Its mandate was to promote the latest examples of contemporary African art in Africa and create international visibility for it. Thus, it served as an important nexus between the African and international art worlds. Dak’Art’s growth in the 1990s coincided with the global expansion of the art world with regard to the proliferation of non-Western art biennials and new forms of cultural mediation. At its first iteration in 1990, Dak’Art was meant to alternate between literary and visual arts. It was a conventional art biennial in 1992, exhibiting works of artists from different parts of the world. In its third iteration, in 1996, Dak’Art transformed its institutional identity and became known as the pan-African biennial of contemporary African art. It focused almost exclusively on the works of African artists and those of the African diaspora. This transformation meant that Dak’Art considered contemporary African art as part of the mainstream art world while at the same time offering an alternative vision of how that world takes shape in Africa....

Article

Joseph R. Givens

(b Hartford, CT, July 9, 1952).

American art dealer, curator, and critic. Deitch is best known for transforming the American art market with the introduction of post-industrial business practices. A Connecticut native, he studied art history at Wesleyan University (1970–74) and opened his first gallery in 1972 at the Curtis Hotel in Lenox, MA. He studied the economics of art at Harvard Business School, and earned an MBA in 1978. His 1980 essay, The Warhol Product, was one of the first publications to address the post-modern phenomenon of art as commodity. In 1979 Deitch helped guide financial institutions into the business of art investment services by co-developing Citibank’s Art Advisory Service, a comprehensive service model that provided élite clients with loans, strategic collection consultation, historical information, and shipping and insurance management. After transitioning to a full-time, self-employed art dealer in 1988, Deitch brokered the secondary market sale of Jasper Johns’s White Flag (...

Article

Thomas P. McNulty

International art exhibition held since 1955 every four to five years in the German city of Kassel (and subsequently other venues as well), which features avant-garde art and culture. Each exhibition lasts for 100 days and its primary exhibition space is in the Museum Fridericianum. Since its inception, the focus of documenta became increasingly global, culminating in the election of the first non-European artistic director, Nigerian-born Okwui Enwezor (b 1963), who organized documenta11 (8 June–15 September 2002).

The first documenta exhibition was held in 1955 at the Museum Fridericianum in Kassel and exhibited work by 148 artists, attracting 130,000 visitors. Its aim, under director Arnold Bode (1900–77), was to exhibit avant-garde art which had been banned under Nazis as ‘degenerate art’. The second installment of documenta (1959), directed by Bode and Werner Haftmann, took as its subject the artworks produced during the 14-year period following the end of World War II. By contrast, documenta III (...