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How does a work of art become an integral part of art history? This 8-week intensive course offers an introduction to the histories of Modern and contemporary art and provides a foundation in the knowledge and skills of art history.

Focusing on critical figures including Manet, Picasso, Duchamp, and Koons, as well as important styles and movements such as Cubism, Surrealism, Pop Art, and Minimalism, this course moves from charting the rise of Impressionism in modern 19th century Paris to examining the impact of globalization on art practice in the 21st century. Illuminating the fundamentals of art historical practice and scholarly research, each week’s online discussions and activities lead you through the relevant themes of a particular period while also introducing skills such as formal analysis, bibliographic research, argumentation, and application of theory.

If you have taken Impressionism to Conceptualism or Introduction to Contemporary Art with Morgan Falconer, please contact for academic advice before registering for this class.

What you will learn:

  • The key terminology used in art historical practice and scholarly research.
  • The facility to recognize and describe styles and periods in modern Western art history, from the 1860s to the present day.
  • The oral and written skills to more effectively and confidently communicate about art and artists.
  • The ability to analyze, synthesize and develop an argument on artworks and artists.
  • The tools needed to evaluate evidence from a range of scholarly sources relating to art.
The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    Coming soon

    We offer our online courses throughout the year with sessions starting every 4-6 weeks.
  • Faculty


    Morgan FalconerProgram Director, MA Contemporary Art, Online Courses, New York
    Ph.D., University College London; MA, Courtauld Institute of Art; BA, University of Leeds

    Morgan Falconer is a critic and art historian. He has written about contemporary art for publications including The Times(London), The EconomistFriezeThe Village Voice, and Art in America. His recent publications include Painting Beyond Pollock (Phaidon, 2015), a history of painting after 1945, and The Art Lovers’ Guide to New York, a guide to the city’s art collections (Rizzoli/ Thames & Hudson, 2011).
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Week 1: Impressionism and Postimpressionism

    • Manet and Degas: The Birth of Modern Art

    • Impressionism

    • Post-Impressionism and Symbolism

    Week 2: From Curves to Cubes: Art Nouveau to Cubism

    • Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau

    • Fauvism and Expressionism

    • Speed, Time and Space: Cubism and Futurism

    Week 3: The Heroic Avant-Garde

    • Dada’s Protest

    • Surrealism

    • Building the New World: Constructivism and the Bauhaus

    • Focus: The Surrealist Object

    • Geometric and Kinetic

    Week 4: Moderates and Extremists

    • New Classicism

    • Art for the People

    • Photojournalism

    • Focus: Art Deco

    Week 5: The Post-War World

    • Art, Trauma, and Post-war Europe

    • The New York School

    • International Modern

    • Focus: Sculpture as Totem

    Week 6: The Birth of Contemporary Art

    • Pop and Postmodernism

    • Minimalism and Art Beyond the Gallery

    • Conceptual Art vs. Contemporary Art

    Week 7: The 1980’s

    • Painting and Heroism

    • Objects and Commodities

    • Spectacular Pictures

    • Focus: Art and Activism in the 1980s

    Week 8: The Global Contemporary

    • Post-Colonialism and Globalization

    • Relational Art

    • Everyday Life

  • Getting Started

    Getting Started

    SIA Online Community, our learning and networking space, opens two weeks before the course begins. This space provides an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the learning platform and introduce yourself to fellow students from around the world.
  • Course Fees And Enrollment

    Course Fees And Enrollment

    Tuition includes 8 weeks of instructor guidance and an additional 90 days to review the course at your leisure.

    Terms and Conditions
  • Certificate Of Completion

    Certificate Of Completion

    For each course successfully completed, you receive a verified Certificate of Completion from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

    Our digital certificates allow you to share new skills with various social media platforms, including LinkedIn. Successful completion is defined by each instructor in the course syllabus and consists, at the least, of regular, thoughtful participation in online activities and timely submission of assigned papers or projects.
  • Contact Information

    Contact Information

    For further information or course advisement, please contact:
    Hayley Black, Admissions Advisor, Non-Degree Programs
    Tel: 212-897-6644 or Request Information

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