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2009/10 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF3068 The Art Market: Moments, Methodologies, Meanings

20 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Mark Westgarth

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2009/10

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary



- To introduce students to the history and development of the art market;
- To draw attention of students to the relationships between the disciplines museum and studies/art history/cultural studies and the structures/mechanisms of the art market;
- To introduce students to some of the main institutions and agents involved in the historical and contemporary art markets.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should:
- schould have a sound knowledge of some of the significant moments in the history of the art market, and its role, function and relationships to the discourse of art history and museology;
- will also have basic knowledge of the mechanisms of the art market (role of auctions and commercial galleries) and have knowledge of some of the main agents (dealers/collectors) involved in the history of the art market.

Skills outcomes
On completion of the module students will:
- have refined the skills necessary for the written and oral communication of information, and
- be able to demonstrate research skills and the marshalling of evidence to produce coherent arguments.


The module provides an introduction to some of the main themes in the histories of the art market. The module is a chronologically ordered and thematic investigation that focuses on key notions, such as the Primary (production) and Secondary (resale/collecting) art markets, and key segments such as the Fine and Decorative Art ('Antiques') markets.

The role of key institutions, such as auction houses and galleries, and key agents, such as art dealers, collectors and artists, are also addressed. The module also critically reflects on the meanings of some of the dominant tropes associated with those that have traded in art objects, such as the consistent theme of forgery and fakes, as well as the role that the art market plays in the complex nature of the notion of 'value'.

The module will direct attention to:
- the role and function of the art market at discrete historical moments, focussing on the Early Modern period in Italy and Holland;
- the art market in France and Britain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries;
- the birth of the Modern art market in the 19th century in London and Paris;
- the development of the secondary markets for 'antiques' in Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries;
- and the International Contemporary art market.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours58.00
Private study hours120.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are given an extensive reading list, with suggestions for further readings.

Students also have opportunities to follow the contemporary art market (during weeks 9-11 specifically) through suggested on-line resources and in the journal press (ie The Art Newspaper, Antique Trade Gazette etc).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Students will be assigned 1 individual class presentation, based on specific readings and themes arising from the module (non-assessed);
- Students will also be required to prepare 1 x 1,000 word auction sale or commercial art gallery exhibition review, to be up-loaded to the Leeds University Art Gallery and Museum Studies Blog (a short skills session on the Blog will be included in the module sessions);
- During Reading Week the students will be required to compose a short auction catalogue entry for an art object (c300 words, non-assessed);
- The seminar teaching format also ensures ample opportunity for discussion and testing students comprehension and progress.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 5,000-6,000 word essay70.00
Critique1 x 1,000 words Web-based Auction/exhibition review30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online MCQ0 hr 0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)0.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 31/03/2011


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