TIAMSA Conference 2021: ‘The Art Market and The Museum: Ethics and Aesthetics of Institutional Collecting, Display and Patronage from c.1800 to the Present’, 15-17 July 2021, Edinburgh

The theme of the TIAMSA 2021 conference (moved back by one year due to the corona crisis) is the historic and contemporary intersections of the art market and museums. The conference will consider both how museums affect the art market and how art market stakeholders, including art dealers, collectors and patrons have, both historically and in more recent years, shaped museum collections and affected exhibition practices – from art dealers like Thomas Agnew, Paul Durand-Ruel or Leo Castelli, to collectors like Sir Richard Wallace, Albert C. Barnes and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, to museum directors such as Hugo von Tschudi at the Berlin National Gallery and Jean Cassou at the Museé National d’Art Moderne in Paris.

We had a fantastic response to our call for papers and are now in the process of setting up the final programme. Given the high quality of submissions, the conference will now be held over three days. Many thanks to all who submitted proposals!

Call for papers (now closed):

The ongoing digitisation of archival material in museums and art galleries such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Carnegie Institute and elsewhere has spawned a plethora of new research on dealers, private collectors and agents as mediators of practices in the museum field. Such innovations, in conjunction with the deposit of dealer stockbooks and other documentary material relating to the art market at institutions like the Getty Research Institute (Goupil and Knoedler Papers); Tate Britain (Reid & Lefevre Archive); the National Gallery London (Thomas Agnew & Sons Archive), the Zentralarchiv des Internationalen Kunsthandels (Cologne) and The Museum of Modern Art (Paul Rosenberg Archives) have given rise to a new generation of researchers in this field.

The conference will offer a unique opportunity for scholars, students, institutional professionals and commercial contributors from around the world to meet and tackle some of the most pressing questions facing the museum and wider cultural sectors today. It seeks to bridge the gap between academic study, the global art market, and professional Museum practice, while providing inspiration for student attendees to explore new career pathways. The interdisciplinary approach aims to encourage creative, cross-network conversations and the development of new approaches and actionable practices relating to the museum and the art market.

Proposals for twenty-minute papers are invited on this topic, with an emphasis on the following themes:

  • The Art Market and Museum Collecting: Papers are welcome on dealers, collectors and agents (past and present) as museum benefactors or as instrumental in the process of museum acquisitions. A special focus will be given to women collectors – from Abby Rockefeller, Bertha Palmer and Katherine Dreier in the USA, to the Davies sisters in Britain – who have historically played such an important role as agents in museum patronage.
  • The Art Market and Museum Exhibitions: Inspired by recent exhibitions on art market figures like Ambroise Vollard, Paul Durand-Ruel, Virginia Dwan, Hildebrand Gurlitt, and the 2019 Centre Pompidou collection installation illuminating the role of ‘Galleries of the 20th century’, these papers will examine how art dealers have acted as curators, or indeed become the subject of scholarly museum exhibitions and research projects themselves.
  • The Art Market, Acquisitions and Museum Practices: Papers that consider the challenges encountered by museums today, and the enduring importance of the art market, are also welcome. Topics might include the role of art market professionals in institutional (Museum and University) collecting (given the current challenges around funding for acquisitions); the increasing importance of provenance research and due-diligence; de-accessioning in US Museums; and even questions concerning the preservation in museums of archival materials related to the art market.
  • The Impact of Museums on the Art Market:  These papers will consider the extent to which museum professionals have an impact on the art market.How does exposure through display in a museum or exhibition affect the significance and market value of works from private collections? What is the impact of the private museum? To what extent do major monographic exhibitions featuring relatively unknown artists raise their market value? What is the impact of scholarly museum research and other kinds of curatorial interventions on the value of certain artists?

We encourage interdisciplinary approaches that weave together strands of art history, economics, sociology, and law, as well as museum and cultural studies. Contributions from scholars and professionals considering global issues, regional institutions and non-Western histories are also welcome.

If you would like to give a paper on one of the above topics please send a brief proposal of around 400 words to Frances.Fowle@ed.ac.uk by 15 December 2019.


  • Prof Frances Fowle (University of Edinburgh; National Galleries of Scotland)
  • MaryKate Cleary (University of Edinburgh)
  • Nirmalie Mulloli (University of Applied Arts Vienna; TIAMSA Coordinator)


  • Prof Frances Fowle (University of Edinburgh; National Galleries of Scotland; TIAMSA)
  • Dr Johannes Nathan (TIAMSA Chair)
  • Dr Kathryn Brown (University of Loughborough)
  • Prof Nick Pearce (University of Glasgow)
  • Dr Christel Force (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
  • Dr Mark Westgarth (University Leeds)
  • Dr Susanna Avery-Quash (The National Gallery, London; TIAMSA)