CONF: The Art Market, Collectors and Agents: Then and Now, Part I, 13 July, London

London, The Warburg Institute, July 13, 2016

Studies of the art market have paid great attention to the rise of auctions and the subsequent opening of the art market. However, there was another, equally important part of the art market in the early modern period, namely the agent, who discovered, bought and sold works of art to many of the most important collectors of the day. Agents not only acted as advisors; they set up networks across Europe and even beyond to acquire works of art; they negotiated with sellers and acted as intermediaries for buyers. At a time when prices were negotiable, the agent was often the person who created the true value of a work of art.

The purpose of our July conference will be firstly to explore the role of agents in the early modern period and to see how they negotiated the burgeoning art market in Europe, developing the role into a more professional activity. Secondly, we hope to take the subject further and consider how the agent has gradually become the consultant/dealer in the modern art market. Thus the conference should allow for a fascinating juxtaposition of historic and contemporary practice. It should also offer a deeper understanding of the private and often hidden side of the market, one that is not represented through the study of auctions alone.

Go to Collecting and Display for the full programme of the day.

For booking please email:

Venue: The University of London, Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB (view on Google Maps)