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Art Business and Art History

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Art Business and Art History

Please contact admissions at for guidance on how to register for this course.

This intensive 12-week semester program combines our Art Business and Art History courses. Meeting 4 days each week, these combined courses will provide a well-rounded approach designed to demystify the art industry by introducing course participants to its key players, infrastructure, and vast cultural and economic history.

Art Business

Course participants will examine art markets in both the developed world and emerging areas, together with legal and management topics related to global art business practices, with a particular emphasis on the international auction house system. Designed to encourage the entrepreneurial thinking on which the art world thrives, the course culminates in a final project in which students develop a new art business and pitch it to investors.

The course prepares students for a wide range of careers in the art world, in both commercial and not-for-profit sectors, or for further study in one of our postgraduate programs. Practical skills gained include accessing and analysing art market data, and evaluating market value for artworks across key categories. Students are also introduced to contemporary management models for commercial and non-commercial practices through theory, case studies and practical work. Branding and marketing for the art world are studied together, and essential art market roles such as art advisor, curator, gallerist, collector, journalist, and art fund manager are explored, together with looking at innovative new art business models, including online initiatives. Through lectures, seminars and visits, students witness first-hand what it takes to make a business successful in today’s art market.

Further information and the sample schedule can be found here.

Art History

The course examines the effects of technological developments on art over time and the nature of the so-called global contemporary. At its heart is the discipline of art history and its place within the art ecosystem. Skills essential to the practical operations of the art world such as authentication, conservation, and display are studied through the experiences of guest speakers who are professionals in the art world. Understanding the history of art and the practices associated with its display is crucial to confidently navigating the art world as a professional or as a serious collector of art.

This course incorporates both in-classroom teaching and on-site visits to a wide spectrum of art world institutions where students can practice their visual analysis skills in front of original works of art. Visits include artist studios, museums, foundations, private museums, and established and emerging commercial galleries.

Further information and the sample schedule can be found here.

Orientation: 9am GMT, September 16

*Please be advised that the timings may vary based on the day’s schedule. However, daily sessions will conclude no later than 5:30pm.

Please contact admissions at for guidance on how to register for this course.


Deadline to Register: September 2

  • Price
    You may select your preferred local currency as the payment option.
  • Email Us
  • Date
    Fall | September 16 - December 13
  • Time
    10:30am – 4:30pm GMT, Monday - Thursday*
  • Duration
    12 Weeks
  • Location
  • Topics
    • Art Business,
    • Art History
  • Language
  • Contact Admissions


  • Daily lectures from leading industry professionals

  • An extensive range of visits including Sotheby’s Auction House and leading art fairs

  • Develop the required skills to create innovative art world enterprises

  • Develop a new art business and pitch it to investors

  • Lectures from leading industry professionals

  • A wide variety of site visits, from leading London museums to walking tours of street art and a conservation studio

  • Develop an understanding of how art history has led the art world to its current space through an exploration of its major movements

  • An insider's look at art restoration, conservation and provenance as it pertains to the study of art history and its future


Jeffrey Boloten

Director of Art Business and Enterprise Programs, London

Jeffrey Boloten is Co-Founder and Managing Director of ArtInsight Ltd., the education partner of art market research firm, ArtTactic. He was a director with several leading international publishers, including Penguin Books, and has held posts at the Tate and as General Manager of a London art college. Boloten is a frequent speaker and lecturer at international art fairs and conferences on topics including the global art market, photography market, and art investment markets. He is a Founding Member of PAIAM, Professional Advisors to the International Art Market, and a member of the Advisory Board for the inaugural Photo Shanghai Art Fair.

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Viv Lawes

Course Leader, Summer Program, London

Viv Lawes is an author, journalist, lecturer and curator with over 25 years’ experience in the art market. She studied History at York University and graduated with an MA in Fine and Decorative Art from Sotheby’s Institute in 1997, where her thesis focused on the textile trade between England and India/ China in the 17th and 18th centuries. Learn more...

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More Information

  • Requirements


    English Language Requirement
    Course participants should be proficient in written and spoken English and be able to participate in group discussions and presentations in English. It is recommended that participants have the equivalent level of IELTS score of 6.0 /TOEFL score of 78 IBT, however evidence of test scores is not required to register.

    Age Requirement
    Courses are open to participants 18 years of age or older, however, we prefer that students have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience to be able to properly engage in the course .

    For more information, please see our Terms and Conditions.

  • Course Completion

    Course Completion

    Course participants take away in-depth and valuable insight into the current and future art world, to be sufficiently prepared for a wide-ranging career within the art industry. Those who successfully complete their course will receive a certificate of completion from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

    Sotheby’s Institute of Art course participants come from all over the world, from a wide variety of backgrounds. As they study, travel, and explore the art world alongside each other throughout the program, fierce and long-lasting collaborations are frequently born. Individuals who complete these courses join our network of over 8,000 alumni around the globe who hold top positions at renowned art organizations.

  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Art Business

    • Art World Institutions: Auction Houses, Galleries, Art Fairs, and Museums
    • The Global Art World: Developing vs. Established Markets
    • Entrepreneurship in the Arts: Developing a Unique Value Proposition for the Art World

    Art History

    • The role of patronage in European cultural centers during the Renaissance
    • The development of aesthetics, art criticism and public museums around the Baroque and Rococo periods
    • The impact of Japanese art and photography on Impressionism and beyond
    • Diversity and inclusion in the art world, including Modern and Contemporary Art in China, Southeast Asia and Africa
    • The emergence of Digital Art, New Media and NFTs, and how technology is reshaping the art world
  • Students Will Learn

    Students Will Learn

    Art Business

    • To identify the rise and sustaining influence of art fairs, auctions and art object dealing, from the eighteenth century to date, as an art market imperative.
    • To recognise and understand the role and influence of different management functions, including research and development, feasibility, project planning, financial planning and human resource strategy.
    • To recognize the relationship between management strategy and legal imperatives, in international art market, business and management contexts.
    • To define a number of negotiation issues, including the legal directives encountered in the execution of business and professional activities of the international art market, identify, distinguish between and use a range of specialized communication techniques, take an active role in the selection and execution of appropriate communications activity within an organizational framework.
    • To research and evaluate data relating to the established art market, and to a number of emerging global art markets.
    • To understand theory and be able to think independently about global art market legal and management issues, at a foundation level, analyse empirical data and discuss it within a historical and contextual framework.

    Art History

    • To recognise the major stylistic changes in Western art history, from Medieval art through today’s contemporary market
    • To demonstrate a sound understanding of how and why these stylistic developments took place
    • To develop skills of visual analysis through first-hand observation of art works
    • To recognize the intersectionality between the fine arts, the applied arts, design and architecture
    • To understand the importance of provenance and valuation in the art market