Structured around a season of high-profile summer sales at Sotheby's, this course provides students with an intensive introduction to the global art market from one of its two world centers: London. The course explores the art market's key participants and the shifting relations between art, market, and finance, especially during times of political and economic instability.
Foundational to the course is a detailed understanding of the mechanics of the art market, principally the work of the leading auction house, Sotheby's, founded in London in 1744. With the help of experts from Sotheby's and the Institute, students explore the preparation and organization of major Sotheby’s auctions, how the quality and value of objects are researched, assessed, and validated, and how to interpret the results of specific sales as they happen.
The course also includes a diverse schedule of visits to world-famous galleries, museums, and historic buildings to promote an enhanced understanding of the aesthetic and market value of an array of art objects, from fine and contemporary art, to design and the decorative arts, fashion, wine, and other focal points for collectors worldwide. The course is introductory and requires no prior knowledge of the field.
Students are taught by a range of engaging experts in various fields related to the art market, including academics, auctioneers, gallerists, and dealers. The teaching approach emphasizes object-based learning, enabling students to gain confidence in evaluating different art objects. Students develop their visual and critical abilities whilst enhancing the commercial and human skills that are essential for working in the art world.