The study of the art market has gained remarkable momentum in recent years. Conferences, lectures and publications are devoted to its history and its present state, addressing both general developments and the impact of particular art galleries and dealers on the history of taste or the “making” of certain artists and styles. Moreover, the growing interest in the provenance of cultural artefacts has further strengthened the consensus that the trade plays a significant role in the history of art. Its study seems presently all the more promising as the market’s sources and documents are still largely unexplored or indeed undiscovered.
This exciting outlook is occasionally attenuated by difficulties, however. Among these are the lack of methodological models, the dearth of specialized research centres, and a lingering scepticism among academics concerning the relevance of art market studies. Students of the art market thus still lack many of the resources and networks common in other areas of scholarly research. A group of twelve international scholars is therefore calling for the foundation of an