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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. This course offers professional insights on how to navigate this fast-paced international marketplace as a collector. Discussions include how to determine a collection focus, differentiating price from value, due diligence checklists, issues surrounding authenticity, as well as simple tips for inventory management.

Using a variety of resources, you embark on a virtual “shopping trip,” applying basic collecting guidelines and comparative strategies to make a hypothetical acquisition for your collection. This course introduces valuable strategies for focus and discernment as you build your collection.

What you will learn:

  • A critical and informed approach to collecting so you can confidently make future acquisitions within the parameters of a budget and a vision.
  • Essential research skills using art historical sources and basic knowledge of how to conduct comparable price research.
  • The ability to navigate the global art market and to conduct research through a variety of online resources for potential art acquisitions.
  • An awareness of the legal complexities and consequences of fakes in the art market, as well as the ability to carry out basic due diligence.
The Details
  • Course Dates

    Course Dates

    Coming soon

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


    Betsy ThomasFaculty, M.A. Art Business, Online Courses 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 US Alumni Chair for the Courtauld Institute.
  • 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

  • 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 6 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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