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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.

The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    Dates: June 8 – July 2, 2020
    (4 weeks; Monday-Thursday)
    Location: The course will take place at Sotheby's Institute of Art - London, 30 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3EE, United Kingdom
    This topic is also offered in July. Learn more.
  • Faculty


    Jeffrey BolotenCourse Leader, Semester Program, London
  • Sample Topics & Suggested Reading

    Sample Topics & Suggested Reading

    Sample Topics

    • Sotheby’s and the art market in London

    • The Modern and Contemporary art market

    • Impressionist and Modern Art sales

    • Researching the art market and using art market databases

    • Valuing art

    • Ethical and heritage issues in the art market

    • Legal and business issues in the art world

    • Emerging markets and art as an investment asset

    • The auction process

    • Classical antiquities and the art market

    • Art funds

    • Art collectors

    • Curating and promoting exhibitions

    • Taxation issues in the art world

    • Wine at auction – investing in pleasure

    Suggested Reading

    • Adam, G. (2014) Big Bucks: The Explosion of the Art Market in the 21st Century (Lund Humphries)

    • Degen, N. (ed) (2013) The Market (Documents of Contemporary Art) (Whitechapel Art Gallery)

    • Findlay, M. (2014) The Value of Art: Money, Power, Beauty (Prestel)

    • Robertson, I. (2016) Understanding Art Markets (Routledge)

  • Credits & Assessment

    Credits & Assessment

    Academic Credits
    Four-week summer courses are validated by The University of Manchester. Students selecting the credit-bearing option and completing the assessments to the satisfaction of the examiners are awarded 20 University of Manchester undergraduate credits for one four-week course.
    Students are assessed by a slide test, written essay and oral presentation. These are intended not only to assist students in their understanding of the subject matter of the course but also in developing a range of skills useful for work in the world of the art market.
  • Study Visits

    Study Visits

    London is a major player in the global art market. A variety of faculty-led visits to museums and galleries forms an integral part of the learning experience.
    Sample venues:

    • Tate Modern

    • Greenwich (Royal Naval Hospital and Queen’s House)

    • Saatchi Gallery

    • British Museum

    • Riflemaker Gallery

    • Sotheby’s Auction House

    • The Wallace Collection

    • Colnaghi Gallery

    • Hoxton Gallery

  • Course Fees

    Course Fees

    Course: £2,950
    To take this course for credit, an additional £325 credit-bearing course fee will be applied.
    Institute Fees:

    • A £40 registration fee beginning March 16, 2020

    • This fee increases to £80 on May 12, 2020

    Register for Multiple Courses to Save:

    • Take two 4-week courses: £5,400 (£500 savings)

    • Take a 4-week and 2-week course: £4,500 (£250 savings)

    • Take any 4-week, 2-week, or 1-week course with another 1-week course to save £150

    Click here to read Terms and Conditions.
  • Registration & Contact Information

    Registration & Contact Information

    Click here to register now.
    For further information, please contact:

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