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Discuss The Effects Of The Industrial Revolution In Europe On The Private Dealer Systems Of Art.

1206 words - 5 pages

Private systems of art dealership have changed dramatically since their inception in Babylonian times (Shubik, Martin 2003). This essay will discuss one of the major changes that occurred during the industrial revolution in Europe in the 1800's. I will be discussing what the role of an art dealer is, how the modern art dealership system arose and how the industrial revolution influenced the role of private art dealership systems in two ways. Firstly, it created a new middle class that had more expendable income which to spend on art. Secondly it generated pro-industrial revolution and anti-industrial revolution art movements. These changes increased the demand for art dealers, resulting in their specialisation, and shaped the system of modern art dealership as it is today.In order to discuss the effects of the industrial revolution on the private dealer systems of art it is important to understand what the role of an art dealer is. According to Cowley (2009) an art dealer is someone who is the 'middleman' between artists and collectors or museums. That is, the art dealer matches the interests of their client with the styles of the artists he/she represents and negotiates the handover of the art piece for a pre-determined fee. An art dealer also frequents auctions and exhibitions looking for exciting new art works representing new talent and thus potential new clients. Moreover, an art dealer is usually a 'connoisseur' of art with a good understanding of the aesthetics and philosophical principles embedded in an artwork (Lippincott, Louise 1983). Thus, an art dealer is in some ways similar to an art critic. Furthermore, an art dealer is able to both inform collectors and artists about what is saleable - thus both parties profit from the knowledge an art dealer has (Hauser, Arnold 1999).Art dealers, as they are known in modern times, came into existence in the 15th and 16th centuries when apprentice painters, who were earning little, made money by practising "arbitrage" which is when one buys works and resells them for a higher price to gain profit. The apprentice painters would sell their own works and also buy other upcoming artists' works and sell them too (Hauser, Arnold, 1999). The 18th century brought about a more scientific approach to art dealership. For example, Jonathan Richardson, owner of one of the finest drawing collections in London, developed the idea of the connoisseurship of art (Lippincott, Louise 1983). That is, he created a scoring system, from 0-20, to judge the saleability of an art piece based on its aesthetic properties and philosophical ideas. This made it easier for the general public who had little knowledge about art to understand whether a piece of art was considered "high art" and thus valuable. This encouraged traffic in the art market and art began to be seen as a means of capital investment (Lippincott, Louise 1983). In 1721 an act of parliament made the art market cheaper and easier for art dealers and the public...

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