Call for Papers: Researching art market practices from past to present

University Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 (France)

June 8 – 09, 2018
Proposal Deadline: Apr 1, 2018

We are pleased to invite you to participate to the First International Workshop of the Series “Tool for the Future: Researching Art Market Practices from Past to Present” – The Art Collector, hosted by University Paul Valéry Montpellier 3 on June 8-9, 2018.

This is the first of a series of three international workshops aimed at bringing together scholars from different disciplines and areas of study of the art market, to confront issues in the history of the art market with those of contemporary practice, and to shed light on common patterns and differences, with a focus on their strategic impact on the market. The next two workshops will be on the emerging art market and the artist as an entrepreneur respectively.

The art collector has been the subject of both monographs and museum catalogues, besides historical, psychological, sociological and economic studies, among various disciplines. Since Veblen (1899), the collector as a consumer has been analysed in terms of social and non-material gains acquired as a taste-maker, philanthropist and socialite. The personal motives that inspire a collector show the psychological nature of collecting and the ways in which collectors may move beyond material interests to acquire works that have fully subjective values, gained from personal histories, social or professional networks, relations with artists, as well as pressures to conform or rebel.

From the past, there is evidence of collecting for religious purposes as part of political policies by governing elites as well as rising industrialists, bankers and merchants. We also see collectors motivated by ambition and financial investment. Nowadays, the rise of contemporary art collections in areas such as the Middle East also rises issues of possible policy purposes. Current art market observers tend to criticise the recent phenomenon of the collector as a speculator and investor. Remarkably, history shows that in the past contemporaries noticed and criticised the rise of investors on the art market, when art sales art emerged alongside commissions to and patronage of artists.

We aim to combine different perspectives: art history, economic empirical analysis of the market and sociological and anthropological interpretations of collectors’ social and cultural behaviour. Through a multi-dimensional approach we aim to analyse the art market and address the following question: How can we assess the behaviour of collectors as both consumers and active agents/patrons/promoters in the market?

We invite proposals for papers of 20 minutes that focus on specific case studies and explore to which extent the economic interests of the collector may interfere with possible altruistic aims. This implies issues of to which extent collectors consider and use possible market gains achieved by investing in art, and provide patronage and support to living artists, and how corresponding motives can be assessed. Case studies can focus on past or current practices, on a particular collector or a group of collectors, and can be supported by secondary evidence such as sales data, agents’ and dealers’ accounts, correspondence, diaries or other biographical information.

Please submit your abstract proposal of about 300 words, together with your bio, to by April 1, 2018. Notification of acceptance will be by April 15, 2018.

Fees :  35 euros 
Hosted at Panacée Contemporary Art Center, Montpellier and University Paul Valery Montpellier 3

Scientific committee
Elisabetta Lazzaro, HKU University of the Arts Utrecht                  
Nathalie Moureau, University Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, France
Adriana Turpin, IESA Paris & Collecting & Display, Institute of Historical Research, London