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The ever-changing global landscape of today’s art market, with its international art fairs and dizzying calendar of live and online auctions, presents more opportunities than ever to buy art. The Art of Collecting introduces valuable strategies for focus and discernment as you build your collection and offers professional insights around how to navigate this fast-paced international marketplace as a collector.

Discussions include how to determine a collection focus, differentiating price from value, understanding due diligence checklists, issues surrounding authenticity and forgeries, as well as simple tips for inventory management. Using a variety of art historical resources and price databases, students will embark on a virtual “shopping trip,” applying basic collecting guidelines and comparative strategies to make a hypothetical acquisition for your collection.

Students will learn:

  • To identify and assess key aspects of collecting in order to confidently acquire artworks within the parameters of a budget and vision.
  • To identify and implement art historical research skills and tools as well as online resources to understand potential art acquisitions.
  • To perform comparable price research in order to assess artwork valuation.
  • To recognize the legal complexities and consequences of artwork forgeries and to understand how to perform basic due diligence before acquiring a work of art.
The Details
  • Course Dates & Fees

    Course Dates & Fees

    September 30 - November 10, 2020
    Tuition includes six weeks of instructor guidance and an additional 90 days to review the course at your leisure.
    We offer this online course throughout the year with sessions starting approximately every four months. Contact us for more information.
  • Getting Started & How It Works

    Getting Started & How It Works

    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.
    Visit our How It Works page to learn more about the online learning experience.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Week 1: Why Collect?

    • Overview of Collecting

    • Deciding on a Collection Focus

    Week 2: Looking and Learning

    • How to be an Educated Collector

    • Key Considerations in What to Look for

    Week 3: The Marketplace: Dollars and Sense

    • Auction Market

    • Retail Market

    • Understanding Price Databases

    Week 4: The Hunt

    • What Venues to Visit – Auctions, Galleries, Fairs, and Online Sites

    Week 5: Caveat Emptor

    • What a Collector is Responsible for

    • Fakes and Forgeries

    • Due Diligence

    Week 6: The Acquisition

    • Art Advisors

    • Buying at Auction

    • Making the Offer at a Gallery

    • What Next

  • Faculty


    Betsy Thomas, Faculty, M.A. Art Business, Online and Summer Institute, New York
    M.A., Courtauld Institute of Art; B.A., Pomona College
    Betsy Thomas is the founder of a boutique art advisory firm providing professional representation for collectors. She advises on buying and selling in all areas of fine art from Old Master, American & 19th C. paintings to Impressionist, Modern & Contemporary Masters. Previously Betsy was Vice President and Associate Specialist in the 19th Century European Paintings Department at Christie’s. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with private collectors and institutions developing high-quality collections as well as managing sales of estates, private and corporate collections. She is a frequent contributor to Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine. Betsy serves as the U.S. Alumni Chair for the Courtauld Institute.
  • 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.
  • Enrollment & Contact Information

    Enrollment & Contact Information

    Enroll Today
    Online courses are open to anyone 18 years of age and older. Registration takes approximately 5 minutes to complete.
    Terms and Conditions
    For further information or course advisement, please contact:
    Hayley Black, Admissions Advisor
    Tel: 212-897-6644 or Request Information

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