Hucksters or Connoisseurs?
The Role of Intermediary Agents in Art Economies
Call for Papers, CAA 2018
The roles of art dealers in the creation of art economies and the circulatory exchange of goods have come to increasing attention of late. However, much work remains to be done to counter the long history of the hagiographic treatment of dealers, which owes a great deal to the fact that histories of dealers were largely authored by dealers eager to write themselves into the history of art.
For this session, we seek to bring a critical and historical perspective to the role of intermediary agents in the primary and secondary markets. We seek papers that will examine dealers who mediated between the artist as producer and the consumer, whether conceived as an individual patron or broadly configured audiences.
We also seek papers that identify strategies developed by these intermediary figures in response to changing social-historical as well as geographical conditions. Relatedly, what role did dealers play in the emergence of art history as a discipline and the construction of its narratives given the vested interest of these agents in knowledge formation and collection building?
Since histories of art dealers have long been dominated by narratives drawn from the Western market, we are particularly interested in papers that examine the role of this figure in non- western art economies as well as topics that help us test and question standard models derived from the early modern and modern Western context. We encourage analysis of historically grounded strategies and practices, as opposed to anecdotal heroic narratives.
Paper proposals are due August 14. Please email your proposal to both chairs.