The art of collecting: individual and corporate collections

Weekend-long art business course

Courses and Classes

  • 10 June 2017, 10am — 5pm
  • 11 June 2017, 10am — 5pm

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(Isaac) Robert Cruikshank (1789-1856), A Shilling well laid out. Tom and Jerry at the Exhibition of Pictures at the Royal Academy (detail), 1 July 1821.

Hand-coloured aquatint. 10.5 x 19.1 cm. Photo credit: © Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Drawing on specialist knowledge of exceptional private and corporate collections, as well as practical expertise, Charlotte Appleyard, the Royal Academy’s Director of Development and author of ‘Corporate Art Collections: A Handbook to Corporate Buying’, will introduce in this course approaches to art collecting as well as practical tools and techniques that can enable a successful collection to stand the test of time.

Although made up of individual items, a successful collection has the potential to become greater than the sum of its parts. For individual, private, corporate and institutional collectors, understanding how to build and maintain a successful collection is not just a matter of luck, but relies on skills and strategy.

The practice of collecting has a long history that can be traced back thousands of years. In Europe, it is widely associated with the patronage of the church, state and crown from at least the Renaissance onwards. The systematic acquisition, trade and display of art, as well as luxury items and curiosities, found more widespread expression with the growth of the Dutch and Flemish markets in the 17th century. The articulation of collecting as a pastime, coupled with the rise of collectors, became established throughout the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe. By the 20th century, individual collectors clearly represented a driving force within specific artistic markets and movements. In the 21st century, corporate or institutional collections have become an increasingly common vehicle for the acquisition and exhibition of art.

Drawing on specialist knowledge of exceptional private and corporate collections, as well as practical expertise, Charlotte Appleyard, the Royal Academy’s Director of Development and author of Corporate Art Collections: A Handbook to Corporate Buying, will introduce in this course approaches to art collecting as well as practical tools and techniques that can enable a successful collection to stand the test of time.

Although made up of individual items, history has shown time and time again that a collection can become greater than the sum of its parts. However, the way in which a collection is best assembled and the techniques and strategies employed to maintain and increase its social and or economic value are rarely discussed and hotly contested. As well as the process by which a collection is put together, of importance is the way it can (or does not) acquire purpose and momentum – a meaning and identity of its own.

Although individual collections can undoubtedly be a source of great pleasure, they also have a profound role to play in the communication and preservation of culture and its values. Understanding how to build a collection therefore has not only practical and financial but also social significance.

This two day expert-led course including specialist guest speakers provides a practical overview of collecting. It covers techniques and approaches to collecting employed by art world experts – exploring how to build and maintain a collection. The course takes into account different types of collectors, collections and different motivations – including individual versus corporate or institutional approaches, each of which includes specific risks and opportunities, drivers and outcomes.

Day one of the course will introduce strategies and structures for building a private collection. The day’s discussions will draw on both expert-led experience, using specific case studies to enable participants to better understand how to source, design and build a collection for the short, medium and long-term. The examples and cases illustrate how great collections can be built even with modest means and small beginnings, and how the growth in the contemporary art market has created not only risks but also opportunities.

Day two focusses on strategies for corporate and institutional collectors and collections. This day will explore how and why organisations choose art collecting as a vehicle for investment as well as for other reasons. It will consider several leading corporate collections, their history, legacy, significance, and possibilities for building such collections. The day will provide practical guidance for why corporate collecting might make sense for commercial or charitable enterprises, and cover the benefits and risks of collecting within an institutional framework and from an organisational perspective.

Participants will discover and discuss strategies for building and maintaining an art collection, and share ideas of what to look for and what to avoid. The course will address the practice and purpose of collecting – both private and corporate – and why and how a successful collection can make an economic and financial contribution, but also social and cultural sense.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

  • 10 June 2017, 10am — 5pm
  • 11 June 2017, 10am — 5pm

General Assembly Room, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly

£290 for one day / £540 for two days. Includes light lunch, refreshments and a drinks reception on both days.

Book now