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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ARTF5069M Art & Money: the modern and contemporary art markets

30 creditsClass Size: 18

Module manager: Dr Mark Westgarth

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The module is a chronologically ordered and thematic investigation of some of the key notions in the developments of the modern and contemporary art markets. It will direct critical attention to the role and function of the art market in the period 1850 to present day.


To introduce students to the history and development of the modern and contemporary art markets (1850s to present day) and to consolidate student’s knowledge of art history. To draw further attention to the relationships between the disciplines of art history, museum and heritage studies, fine art practice and the structures, mechanisms and practices of the art market. To introduce students to a critical understanding of the role and function that the art market plays in the complex structures of the meaning and value of art.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module students should have
- a sound knowledge of some of the significant aspects of the modern and contemporary art markets.
- an understanding of the roles, functions of the art market and its relationships to the discourse of art history, museology and fine art practice.
- a knowledge of the key art dealers, art agents and art collectors operating in the contemporary art market
- an understanding of the role of art auctions and commercial galleries

Skills outcomes
Critical Writing Skills
Historical Analysis


The module is a chronologically ordered and thematic investigation into key notions of the modern and contemporary art markets. Starting in the 1850s the art market began to take on distinctive form, with the emergence of ‘modern’ marketing
initiatives and the professional practices of art dealers and agents. The module focuses on some key developments in the history of the modern art market, and the changing role of the main institutions such as auction houses and commercial art
galleries, and key agents such as art dealers, art collectors and artists themselves, as a basis for a critical investigation into the practices, roles and functions of the art market.
The module introduces students to the ways in which the art market shapes, and is shaped by, the complex structures of value of art. A consistent theme in the framework of the modern and contemporary art market is the, often contested,
relationship between art and money; through a close examination of writers such as Simmel, Hauser, Appadurai, Buadrillard and Bourdieu, this module directs attention to the significance this relationship.
The module will focus on the development of the art market at discrete historical moments; the rise of the modern art market in the mid-19th century in London and Paris; the development of 'avant-garde art in the 19th and 20th centuries; the
development of international art markets in the 20th century; and the more recent developments in the practices, roles and functions in the Global contemporary art market.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours10.00
Private study hours260.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students are given an extensive reading list, with suggestions for further readings. Students are encouraged to research online sources such as, and to follow at least one online live art auction on the Christie’s and Sotheby’s websites. The independent online learning will ensure the development of research skills, the results of which are assessed in the module assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The weekly seminar sessions are structured to allow continuous feedback on progress. Further formative feedback opportunities via tutor office hours and individual appointments.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay5000-6000 word essay60.00
PresentationSmall group presentation10.00
Report1000 word review of an art auction30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The resit arrangements for the group presentation would be a submission of the Powerpoint for the presentation, with an associated audio file (10 minutes max)

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 09/09/2022


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