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Analysis of the art market: the evolution of taste

Weekend-long art theory and business course

Short course

  • 2 November 2019, 10am — 5pm
  • 3 November 2019, 10am — 5pm
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William Powell Frith, A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881 (detail), 1883.

Oil on canvas. 102.9 x 195.6 cm. A Pope Family Trust, courtesy Martin Beisly.

Led by historian and art dealer, Angus Haldane, this weekend course offers critical insights into the history of the art market through the filter of the history of changes in taste.

The notion that the aesthetic and market value of a work of art is interconnected has always broadly been accepted. However, in today’s rapidly changing world, how the value of a work of art is perceived commercially, reputationally and culturally is far more complex.

This course will examine the economic, religious, scientific and sociological pressures which have moulded taste across the centuries. It will examine how the tastes of Old Master connoisseurs and the tastemakers of the 19th and 20th centuries have evolved to form the bespoke tastes of the 21st-century art market participant.

Why, for example, does the current market like red pictures more than green? What about white, black, blue and yellow and how does any perceived commercial hierarchy compare with critical assessments of colour in previous centuries?

Why do some paintings of saints, martyrs and Madonnas excite interest in the current art market, while others less so? How does the role of connoisseur and tastemaker exist in today’s market and how has this changed from the time of the Renaissance? What are the practical implications of shifting taste on the way in which artists, dealers, galleries and institutions interact in today’s market?

Bringing the conversation up to the present day, we will consider how Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and even the BBC has affected our taste in art, and ask whether parallels for these media dynamics can be found in previous eras of art.

This course will offer participants the opportunity to explore and examine some of these key questions and gain a deeper knowledge of both the history of art and commerce in a new and stimulating way. It will analyse art market tastes following a broad chronology from Old Master paintings straight through to contemporary art.

Over the course we will discuss topics such as: subject matter, rarity, provenance, condition, authorship and authenticity. Over two days of lectures, panel discussion and classroom debate, the course will provide participants with the context, knowledge and ability to assess the art market for themselves.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

  • 2 November 2019, 10am — 5pm
  • 3 November 2019, 10am — 5pm

Wolfson British Academy Room, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

£540. Includes light refreshments and lunch on both days and a wine reception.