Hugo Helbing Lecture – Exploring the Art Market, Munich

The 2017 Hugo Helbing Lecture – Exploring the Art Market

Prof. Craig Clunas (University of Oxford): „Marketing Art in China
from Ming to Modernity“

26 April 2017, 7pm
Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich
Großer Lesesaal

China is the site of what is the longest continuous art market tradition in the world, but that does not mean it is unchanged over time. This talk will focus on two particular moments of intense market activity in China, the early seventeenth century and the early twentieth century, to examine the continuities and differences between these two era. The diary of a late Ming ‘man of culture’, rich in the detail of an elite collector’s lifestyle, will be juxtaposed with the mass culture of newspaper advertisements placed by artists in Republican Shanghai; these texts, and the artworks they describes, will act as a focus for an investigation of the art market in China from Ming to modernity.

Hugo Helbing (1863–1938) was the founder and director of one of Germany’s foremost auction houses, the market leader in the German speaking countries between c. 1900 and 1935. At his headquarters in Munich, his branch offices in Frankfurt am Main and Berlin, as well as abroad, Helbing held more than 800 auctions, many of outstanding importance. His exquisite catalogues defined new standards in their exemplary assessment of objects and contributed significantly to Germany’s competitive position in the international art trade at the time. Helbing, who was honoured with many awards for his achievements and magnanimity, also published scholarly periodicals, among them the Monatsberichte über Kunstwissenschaft und Kunsthandel. Due to his Jewish origin Helbing was murdered in the wake of the ‘Reichspogromnacht’ in 1938.

The Hugo Helbing Lecture – Exploring the Art Market commemorates his achievements every year. It was first held in 2016 on the occasion of the donation of annotated auction catalogues from his firm to the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich.

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