CONF: Promises of the Victorian International Art Market (VISAWUS; 24 Feb 2023, 4:00 PM Pacific Time)

In this panel, speakers explore various ways the Victorian art market, whose scale and density rapidly expanded over the seventy-year period, held promises for artists, patrons, dealers, museums, and the public. A flourishing global market plus prolific local, regional, national, and international exhibitions and new museums offered artists promises of wider patronage, global reputations, economic success, and fame.

Women artists, too, took advantage of new opportunities, including worldwide distribution of prints. For patrons, this market was an opportunity to purchase and to commission works directly from artists or through dealers selling art from around the world. For dealers, the global market meant new buyers and a chance to organize exhibitions abroad. Dealers and emerging art critics and writers helped fuel a global celebrity culture for artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Bume-Jones. For emerging museums abroad (e.g., US, Japan, South Africa) the market offered a chance to expand their collections of 19th-century European art which they believed would uplift their national culture. For the public, the market enabled them to acquire cultural capital, to see art in commercial galleries, museums, and prolific art magazines and to purchase and display reproductions of celebrated artists’ works in their homes.


Anne Helmreich, Associate Director, Getty Foundation

“What is it Worth? The Years Art and the Promise of the Victorian Art Market”

Pamela Fletcher, Professor of Art History, Bowdoin College

“Marketing Opportunity: Dealer Ernest Gambart and Women Artists”

Julie Codell, Professor of Art History, Arizona State University

“Art for the Whole World: Victorian Paintings Circulating Worldwide”

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