Great collections: from private to public

Ten-week art history and theory course

Courses and Classes

● Fully booked

18 January — 22 March 2017

Great Collections: From Private to Public

A distinguished line-up of academics and art world scholars, including Royal Academy Chief Executive Charles Saumarez Smith, deliver a unique perspective on the origins of the world’s greatest international collections, and the private collectors who contributed to them.

“Even in the case of art created centuries ago, it is essential that somebody loves it enough to buy it and cherish it – otherwise it will be forgotten and disappear.”

James Stourton, 2007

The notion that individual works of art exist as part of a greater collection which helps to determine and define them is widely accepted in the context of museums, public collections and exhibition spaces. However, many of these have important links to earlier private collections and individual collectors who painstakingly built them.

This course will consider a number of key questions: where did some of the world’s great public collections come from? Who created them and why? What impact did individual collectors have on the public domain and the way we understand and view art and our cultural heritage?

This course provides a unique opportunity to learn about the origins of a number of great international art collections, as well as the role and impact of collecting art, and the process through which private collections become public. The course will provide a historic perspective on the practice and process of collecting, which is relevant as much for institutions as for individual collectors today. Understanding how great collections start and evolve – how work is acquired, retained, displayed and eventually shared – is also critical for understanding individual works, artists and art movements which have gained prominence in the historical narrative.

Individual sessions are taught by leading scholars, art-world practitioners and professionals from both the private and public sphere. There will be a focus on specific collections and cases; as well as the individuals behind them. The course will be broadly chronological in order and include discussion of some of the greatest collections in the united kingdom as well as international examples.

Speakers include:

Maurice Davies, Anna M. Dempster, Philip Dodd, Ann Dumas, Philip Rylands, James Stourton, Charles Saumarez Smith and Jeremy Warren.

This course takes place on consecutive Wednesday evenings from 6 - 8pm.

The full ten-week and the first five-week block for this course have now sold out. Places are still available for the second five-week block (22 February - 22 March)

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

18 January — 22 March 2017

The Life Room, Royal Academy Schools

£290 for five weeks / £540 for ten weeks (sold out). Includes light refreshments and a drinks reception at the end of weeks five and ten.