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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: Charlatans and Connoisseurs: the development of the modern art market from Gambart to Kahnweiler (HIAR10167)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the development of the modern art market in Britain and the USA in the period c.1860-1945. The course is structured as a series of two-hour seminars which will focus on individual art dealers and their strategies for promoting modern and contemporary art, as well as related themes such as patronage, taste-making, connoisseurship and authenticity.
Course description This course examines the development of the market for modern art in Britain and the USA in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This was a time of rapid economic growth, technological expansion and industrialization in Britain and America. There were dramatic social changes, with large numbers of people moving from the country to the city, a rising middle class, a new awareness of women's rights, and the creation of super-rich industrialists who were in the market for modern and contemporary art - especially Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and the work of Picasso and Matisse. Although many of their businesses were international, these mercantile collectors had relatively little leisure time to travel on the continent and often relied on art agents to buy their pictures. As a result, this period saw the rise of the art dealer and the establishment of international dealer networks, with London, Paris and New York at the centre. The course will focus on pioneer art dealers such as Ernest Gambart and Reid & Lefevre in London, and Paul Durand-Ruel and Daniel Kahnweiler in Paris, and examine their strategies for selling modern art and promoting the avant-garde in Britain and the USA. It will also focus on key moments in shifting current perceptions of modern art, such as Roger Fry's Post-Impressionist Exhibitions, or the Armory Show of 1913, and consider the role (both in terms of patronage and taste making) of major collectors of the period, including Samuel Courtauld, the Davies sisters, the Havemeyers and Albert C. Barnes. Seminars will highlight such issues as: the commodification of art; marketing methods and the branding of the artist; the professionalization of the dealer; the relationship between agents and collectors; the fakes industry, connoisseurship and questions of authenticity; international dealer networks; and Nazi-looted art.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08012) OR ( Architectural History 2a: Order & the City (ARHI08006) AND Architectural History 2b: Culture & the City (ARHI08007))
Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Class visit. Estimated cost: £20
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the historical importance of the role of the art dealer in relation to Impressionism and Modern Art.
  2. Absorb, understand and apply theoretical ideas relating to the art market through close reading of texts, as well as visual analysis.
  3. Successfully analyse and argue about key issues relating to art market strategy and other issues arising from the course
  4. Present ideas clearly and well in writing and in debate.
  5. Prepare and organize work effectively to deadlines.
Reading List
FitzGerald, Michael C., 1995. Making Modernism: Picasso and the Creation of the Market for Twentieth Century Art. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Fletcher, P. and Helmreich, A., 2013. The Rise of the Modern Art Market in London 1850-1939. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Hook, Philip, 2017. Rogue's Gallery: A History of Art and its Dealers. London: Profile Books.
Jensen, Robert, 1997. Marketing Modernism in Fin de Siècle Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Patry, Sylvie (ed.), 2015. Inventing Impressionism: Paul Durand-Ruel and the Modern Art Market. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Reist, Inge (ed), 2014. British Models of Art Collecting and the American Response: Reflections Across the Pond (The Histories of Material Culture and Collecting, 1700-1950). London: Routledge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Visual and critical analysis;
Clear thinking and the development of an argument;
Independent research;
Presentation and communication skills;
Organization and planning.
Keywordsart market,impressionism,modernism,art dealer,collecting,taste,authenticity
Course organiserDr Frances Fowle
Tel: (0131 6)51 4321
Course secretaryMr Nathan Ross-Hammond
Tel: (0131 6)51 5880
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