ANN: Lecture by Dr Alycen Mitchell – ‘The Goldschmidt Auction & the Development of the Modern Auction Market 1954-1965’ (online, 1 June 2021, 17:30 GMT)

The University of Edinburgh Collecting and Art Market Research Cluster (chaired by Professor Frances Fowle and MaryKate Cleary) invites you to its next lecture on the Goldschmidt auction. 

On 15th October 1958, Sotheby’s mounted a spectacular evening auction featuring the seven most important Impressionist paintings from the collection of the late Jakob Goldschmidt. It took Peter Wilson, Sotheby’s chairman, the auctioneer that night, exactly twenty-one minutes to sell those seven paintings for a total of £781,000. That total broke all previous records for a single event auction. This high-profile sale marked the beginning of a new era in art auctions. In her talk Alycen Mitchell discusses the early Impressionist auctions before and after the Goldschmidt auction. She explores the Goldschmidt auction’s contribution to Sotheby’s growing lead in the global auction market and assesses its legacy. 

Dr Alycen Mitchell studied for her PhD at Queen Mary, University of London where she is an Honorary Research Fellow and lecturer in the School of History. Her thesis charts Sotheby’s and Christie’s rise to international market pre-eminence following World War II. She originally worked in the antiques business and has a long track record of writing about art and design. Her research on the relationship between George Romney’s critical reputation and the art market led to an article (co-authored with Barbara Pezzini) published in The Burlington Magazine (July 2015). She spoke at the ‘Creating Market, Collecting Art’ Conference (July 2016) organised by Christie’s Education in London. She presented papers at the ‘Researching Art Market Practices from Past to Present and Tools for the Future’ Workshop (November 2019) at Accademia Nazionale di San Luca in Rome and at a ‘Collecting and Display’ seminar (February 2020) at the Institute of Historical Research.

This event is hosted by the University of Edinburgh Collecting and Art Market Research Cluster. The interdisciplinary Collecting and Art Market Research Cluster welcomes all those interested in collecting, the art market and related issues. The cluster provides a forum for discussion and presentation through holding regular seminars, workshops and talks by invited speakers, as well as Edinburgh-based researchers – both students and staff, and from disciplines as diverse as art history, business and sociology. Individuals have the opportunity to present their latest findings to a specialist audience in a relaxed environment.


Please note this session will be hosted via Zoom. Once you have registered, you will receive a link/login details to join the session. Please note that by registering you agree to being recorded.

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