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This intensive Semester program is designed for those who are interested in learning about both: art history and the business side of the art world.

Through lectures, seminars, and visits to specialist museums, collections, and key commercial galleries, students are introduced to the history of art and design, and the ways in which art has been made, sold, and collected. In the Fall semester, students focus on modern and contemporary art; in the Spring semester, students can choose between modern and contemporary art or art from 1600 to 1900.  Through the art business component of the program, students will examine established art markets in the developed world as well as emerging art markets in the developing world. Students will also learn about legal and management issues related to the global art business practice, with a particular emphasis on the international auction house system.

The program prepares students for a wide range of careers in the art world or for further study on one of our postgraduate programs.  Students will learn practical skills and gain knowledge in:

  •  Accessing and analyzing art market data
  • Assessing market value for art works across key sectors
  • Contemporary management models for commercial and non-commercial practices
  • Branding and marketing issues
  • Essential professional roles in the art market (e.g. art advisor, curator, gallerist, collector, journalist, art fund manager)
  • Innovative new art business models, including online initiatives

The program requires no prior knowledge of the field. Download the Semester Prospectus.

The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    Spring 2020: January 20, 2020 – May 1, 2020

    Fall 2020: September 7, 2020 – December 16, 2020

    "Sotheby’s Institute prepared me for the role that I cover today and gave me the necessary tools to progress in my career."
    —Giorgia Parodi Brown (Student)

    Hear from previous students about their experience with the course.
  • Structure, Teaching Methods And Assignments

    Structure, Teaching Methods And Assignments

    The program is divided into two units, one in art history and one in art business.

    The business unit, entitled Foundations of Art Business, contains a further two components: Foundations of the Global Art Market, and The Art Market in Practice. These classes are taught on two days a week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) across the entire semester. For the art history component, students will focus on Modern and Contemporary Art. Classes are taught on two days a week (Thursdays and Fridays) across the entire semester. Part-time students can choose to study one unit only during the semester, or two units over more than one semester.

    The teaching approach includes lectures, interactive seminars, and visits to auction previews, key art fairs, foundations, museums and galleries. The teaching is intensive and supportive, with an emphasis on individual and small-group learning, and on developing a broad range of entrepreneurial skills. It also emphasizes the acquisition of practical skills from an object-based perspective, enabling students to gain confidence in analyzing and identifying a wide range of art objects, both in a classroom setting and in numerous study visits to London’s world-class art collections. Students meet museum curators, auction specialists, art dealers and leading art market professionals from all key sectors in the global market. The unique opportunity to learn about objects close-up enhances students’ critical and visual skills, while immersion in the art world offers them an insight into a booming 21st century industry. Students also gain valuable practical experience in delivering visual presentations and preparing a business plan. Students also participate in a Mock Auction experience, staged by the Sotheby’s Auction House team, to enact different roles in the auction process.

    Click here to download a printable version.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics


    • Auction and art market history

    • The growth of the contemporary art market

    • Analysing the art market

    • The role of art fairs in the global art market

    • The Old Masters art market

    • The Impressionist and modern art market

    • The 19th century art market

    • Indian modern and contemporary art market

    • Middle-Eastern modern and contemporary art market

    • Chinese modern and contemporary art market

    • The photography art market

    • Innovations in public and private patronage

    • Art finance and investment

    • Non-art commodities at auction (e.g. wine)

    • International business frameworks

    • Contractual relations: legal and management issues

    • Analytical tools: seeing the art market through numbers

    • Galleries, museums and collections: business and legal structures

    • Intellectual property

    • Marketing for the art world: marketing campaigns / social media case studies

    • Branding and the art market

    • Art business feasibility case studies

    • Art business strategic development/planning

    • Presentation skills

    • Art business proposals

    • The role of the Curator/ curating exhibitions

    • The market for New Media and Performance Art

    • Buying and selling art online


    Modern and Contemporary Art History

    • Fauvism

    • German Expressionism

    • Primitivism

    • Cubism and Futurism

    • Vienna Secession; Klimt, Kokoschka and Schiele

    • Modernism in Architecture and Design

    • Dada and Surrealism

    • New Objectivity

    • Abstract Expressionism

    • American and European Photography 1900-1945

    • London: dynamics of the contemporary art system

    • Sculpture of the 1960s

    • Landmarks of design and architecture 1960-1990

    • Process art: post minimalism and Arte povera

    • Performance art

    • Photography

    • YBAs: The Young British Artists

    • Moving image art

    • Global art

  • Field Trips And Study Visits

    Field Trips And Study Visits

    London is a major centre for the art world. A wide variety of faculty-led visits to museums, galleries, auction houses and other locations forms an integral part of the learning experience.

    Sample venues:

    • British Museum

    • Contemporary commercial galleries

    • Estorick Collection

    • Zabludowicz Collection

    • Tate Britain/Tate Modern

    • Saatchi Gallery

    • Frieze Art Fair

    • Affordable Art Fair

    • Brighton Pavillion

    • Sotheby’s Auction House and warehouse

    • The National Gallery

    • Victoria and Albert Museum

    • The Courtauld Galleries

    • Royal Academy of Art

    • Barbican Gallery

    • Hayward Gallery

    • Artists’ studios

    • Whitechapel Gallery


    There is also a day trip to Oxford which includes a visit to Blenheim Palace.
  • Credits And Validation

    Credits And Validation

    The program is validated by The University of Manchester, one of the UK’s leading universities. Students who complete the program successfully will gain 60 University of Manchester undergraduate credits.

    This generally translates to 16 undergraduate credits or 12 graduate in the US system and 30 credits in the European (ECTS) system. Students currently enrolled at other colleges or universities should be aware that transfer of credit is always made at the discretion of the accepting institution. Therefore, applicants should confirm the feasibility of credit transfer with faculty advisors at their home school in advance of registration.
  • Faculty


    Jeffrey Boloten – Course Leader
    Lucy Bayley
    Rachel Barnes
    Angus Haldane
    Henry Lydiate
    Anna Moszynska
    Anders Petterson
    Helena Pickup

    Visiting lecturers have included:
    Alia Al Senussi – Curator, art advisor and patron.
    Louisa BuckArt critic, author and contemporary art correspondent for The Art Newspaper.
    Kirsten Dunne  Senior Cultural Policy Officer, Mayor of London’s Office.
    Melanie Gerlis ꟷ Columnist & contributor, Financial Times and Editor at large, The Art Newspaper.
    David Isaac – Dealer in antiquarian prints.
    Ruth Knowles – Director of Global Marketing and Business Development, The Art Fund Group Ltd.
    Ezra Konvitz – Co-founder of the art-based social media site ArtStack.
    Ed Leeson – Creative artist and educator, experienced in visual and performance art.
    Sylvain Levy – Co-founder of the major Paris-based Chinese contemporary art collection DSL.
    Brendan Mitchell – Head of Sotheby's Bids Department.
    Julie Molloy – Managing Director- National Gallery Company (London).
    Dr Catherine Morel – Associate Professor, Audencia Nantes School of Management.
    Laura Noble – Gallerist and author of The Art of Collecting Photography.
    Eugenio Re Rebaudengo – Founder of the online art platform Artuner.
    Freya Simms – Managing Director of Golden Squared Consulting.
    Virginie Puertolas-Syn – Founder of the ART SYN (art advisory).
    Damian Tillson – Director of Sotheby’s wine department.
    Bernadine Brocker Wieder ꟷ Ceo/Co-Founder Vastari Group Ltd.
  • Admission To The Program

    Admission To The Program

    There are no formal admission requirements except a good level of English language competence (a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 or TOEFL score of 78 IBT). Applicants are interviewed in person or by telephone. Although no prior knowledge is required, the Institute offers places to motivated students with appropriate experience and/or ambitions, and with a passion for art and the art world. Our students are of all ages and come from a wide variety of educational and professional backgrounds. The international make-up of the student body at Sotheby’s Institute of Art generates a rich and dynamic learning environment.
  • Program Fees

    Program Fees

    Spring 2020:
    Full-time: £9,100
    Part-time: £4,700

    Fall 2020:
    Full-time: £9,400
    Part-time: £4,800

    Click here to read Terms and Conditions.

    Click here to apply.
  • Contact And Request Information

    Contact And Request Information

    For further information, please contact: or Request Information
    T +44 (0)20 7462 3221

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