Special Issue "Art Markets and Digital Histories"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2019).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Claartje Rasterhoff
Website
Guest Editor
Assistant Professor in Urban History and Digital Methods, Department of History, University of Amsterdam, 1012 WX Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Interests: early modern and modern cultural industries; art markets; urban history; arts and culture; digital humanities
Dr. Sandra Van Ginhoven
Website
Guest Editor
Head of Project for the Study of Collecting and Provenance, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA 90049, USA
Interests: art history; art markets; economics; visual culture

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Arts investigates the promises and pitfalls of current digital methods in studying the history of art markets. New technologies are becoming integral to research in the humanities and social sciences and this invites a reflection on the use of these methods and techniques in art market studies. Our aim is to explore the different strategies that scholars employ to navigate and negotiate digital techniques and data sources, particularly when combining different datasets and types. Furthermore, the wealth of digitized historical data on objects and agents in art markets is rapidly expanding, and this data is increasingly published as Linked Open Data. Two recent historiographical trends make the use of Linked Data particularly relevant to art market studies.

First of all, the history of art markets has since long been studied through economic, social, and cultural lenses. While some scholars opt for the one or the other, others try to integrate them through the topics of, for instance, intermediaries, market mediation, and valuation processes. Open access to digital assets from art museums, archives, and libraries provide the opportunity, in the form of linked data and combined sources, to test cross-overs between research domains and thereby expand our understanding of art markets as socio-cultural as well as economic phenomena. But translating the promise of Linked Data into actual conceptual leaps in the field requires careful design of data models and methodologies.

The second trend also concerns the boundaries of the art market, but on a spatial level. The geographical reach of historical art market studies has been extended beyond Europe and the United States to include Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia. At the same time, scholars have developed increasing interest on themes such as cross-border trade and networks, global vs. national vs. local, and migration and mobility patterns. In theory, digitization and linked data provide excellent opportunities for advanced cross-border and comparative analyses, but in practice it has proven difficult to systematically link or compare data across borders and languages.

For this issue, we seek contributions that present a historical research question relevant to art market studies. We are particularly interested in contributions that reach out to other domains (be they time, place, or societal), and that place emphasis on combining and using multiple sources or data types (linked or not linked). There are no limitations as to place or time, as long as the papers are explicit on their research processes with regards to data, techniques and methods.

A wide range of topics will be suitable for this Special Issue and might include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • collecting practices
  • consumption patterns
  • art as investment
  • intermediaries
  • art dealers and auctions
  • new technologies
  • galleries
  • fairs
  • ...

Please send a 200-word proposal and CV to Claartje Rasterhoff () and Sandra van Ginhoven () by 15 June 2018.

Please note that there is a two-stage submission procedure. We first collect abstracts of 200 words by 15 June 2018. Before 15 July, we will invite selected abstracts to be submitted as full papers for peer review by 1 December 2018. Journal publication is expected in March or June 2019, depending on the revision time needed after peer review.

Dr. Claartje Rasterhoff
Dr. Sandra van Ginhoven
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • art market
  • digital histories
  • collecting practices
  • consumption patterns
  • art as investment
  • intermediaries
  • art dealers and auctions
  • new technologies
  • galleries
  • fairs

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Art Markets and Digital Histories
Arts 2019, 8(3), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030105 - 21 Aug 2019
Abstract
This Special Issue of Arts investigates the use of digital methods in the study of art markets and their histories. Digital art history or historical research facilitated by computer-technology in general is omnipresent in academia and increasingly supported by an infrastructure of seminars, [...] Read more.
This Special Issue of Arts investigates the use of digital methods in the study of art markets and their histories. Digital art history or historical research facilitated by computer-technology in general is omnipresent in academia and increasingly supported by an infrastructure of seminars, workshops, networks, journals and other platforms for sharing results, exchanging notes and developing criticism. As the wealth of historical and contemporary data is rapidly expanding and digital technologies are becoming integral to research in the humanities and social sciences, it is high time to reflect on the different strategies that art market scholars employ to navigate and negotiate digital techniques and resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Markets and Digital Histories) Printed Edition available

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Revisiting Harrison and Cynthia White’s Academic vs. Dealer-Critic System
Arts 2019, 8(3), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030096 - 31 Jul 2019
Abstract
The field of art market studies is based on a famous opposition, coined by Harrison and Cynthia White in 1965, regarding the “academic” system, as opposed to the “dealer-critic” one. Published in 1965, their book, Canvases and Careers, Institutional Change in the French [...] Read more.
The field of art market studies is based on a famous opposition, coined by Harrison and Cynthia White in 1965, regarding the “academic” system, as opposed to the “dealer-critic” one. Published in 1965, their book, Canvases and Careers, Institutional Change in the French Painting World, was qualified by Patricia Mainardi and Pierre Vaisse, but their criticism dated back to the 1990s. In the meantime, the development of digital methods makes possible a broader reassessment of Harrison and Cynthia White’s theory. Based on a corpus of Parisian auction sales, from 1831 through 1925, this paper uses econometrics to call into question the antagonism between the academic and the dealer-critic system, and comes to another conclusion: the academic system was crucial to determine the value of artworks and its efficiency did not collapse in the 1870s, nor in the 1880s, but rather after the Great War. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Markets and Digital Histories) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Museum Photo Archives and the History of the Art Market: A Digital Approach
Arts 2019, 8(3), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030093 - 18 Jul 2019
Abstract
Digital images with metadata contain unique potential for research into the history of the art market. The embedding of digital images in a database allows for the possibility of an association with their historical context due to the presence of metadata, which includes [...] Read more.
Digital images with metadata contain unique potential for research into the history of the art market. The embedding of digital images in a database allows for the possibility of an association with their historical context due to the presence of metadata, which includes economic data, such as the provenance chain, as well as information about collecting practices. The database becomes a historical reconstruction of context accompanying the reproductions of the works. In this paper, a case study of a museum photo archive of forgeries illustrates the ways in which digital methods can be helpful in analyzing these contexts. The archive was run by the secret “Verband von Museums-Beamten zur Abwehr von Fälschungen und unlauterem Geschäftsgebahren” (Association of Museum Officials for Defense against Fakes and Improper Business Practices). This archive allows the engagement of early 20th century museums in the art market to be traced within specific genres. The goal of the case study and methodology presented here is to learn more about the economic practices of museums. Specifically, this paper reconsiders a study by Timothy Wilson on fake maiolica, with a new focus on the involvement of museums in the art market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Markets and Digital Histories) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Reflecting on the Development of a Digital Platform for the Analysis of Fairs for Modern and Contemporary Art—Approach, Challenges, and Future Perspectives Using the Project ART|GALLERY GIS|COLOGNE as an Example
Arts 2019, 8(3), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030088 - 10 Jul 2019
Abstract
Founded in 1967 under the name Kunstmarkt Köln, today’s ART COLOGNE was the first art fair worldwide to specialize in contemporary art. Its primary objectives were to further the art trade in Germany, promote German artists, and establish a new center for [...] Read more.
Founded in 1967 under the name Kunstmarkt Köln, today’s ART COLOGNE was the first art fair worldwide to specialize in contemporary art. Its primary objectives were to further the art trade in Germany, promote German artists, and establish a new center for the art trade in post-war Germany. Since then, the model of a ‘fair for modern and contemporary art’ has become a globally prosperous format. The starting point of this article is a discussion of an approach to establishing a digital platform for the analysis of the development of the composition of exhibitors at ART COLOGNE during its first 30 years. Its aim is to provide a useful model platform for future research into other art fairs worldwide. The project entailed locations of the participating exhibitors during the first three decades being gathered from the fair’s catalogues, georeferenced, and visualized in a digital, interactive online map named ART|GALLERY GIS|COLOGNE. Through a reactive environment, the online map with open access has, in a second phase, been embedded with further information (e.g., special exhibitions, square meter prices) from other sources. The paper considers what contextual information is required for an adequate analysis of maps, which parameters may exist (e.g., in terms of copyright laws), and what routes could be followed in terms of method (e.g., deep mapping) in contributing to the exploration of the structures of the art market through a primarily visual approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Markets and Digital Histories) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
The Cyber Turn of the Contemporary Art Market
Arts 2019, 8(3), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030084 - 04 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The paper addresses the issue of digitalization of the contemporary art market. It analyzes key features of today’s online art market and discusses three technological innovations—cryptocurrency, blockchain, and artificial intelligence—that have the potential to contribute to the further development and growth of online [...] Read more.
The paper addresses the issue of digitalization of the contemporary art market. It analyzes key features of today’s online art market and discusses three technological innovations—cryptocurrency, blockchain, and artificial intelligence—that have the potential to contribute to the further development and growth of online art trade. The paper demonstrates that whereas cyberspace attracts new talent and great business ideas intended to make global art commerce more versatile and efficient, online art market players alongside with providers of online art market data and analytics offer interesting avenues of future research in this sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Markets and Digital Histories) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Reputation, Status Networks, and the Art Market
Arts 2019, 8(3), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030081 - 03 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The effect of an artist’s prestige on the price of artwork is a well-known, central tenant in art market research. In considering how an artist’s prestige proliferates, much research examines networks, where certain artistic groupings and associations promote individual member’s artistic standing (i.e., [...] Read more.
The effect of an artist’s prestige on the price of artwork is a well-known, central tenant in art market research. In considering how an artist’s prestige proliferates, much research examines networks, where certain artistic groupings and associations promote individual member’s artistic standing (i.e., “associative status networks”). When considering the role of associative status networks, there are two models by which status may increase. First, the confirmation model suggests that actors of similar status are associated with each other. Second, the increase model suggests that a halo effect occurs, whereby an individual’s status increases by association with higher-status artists. In this research, we examine the association of artists through museum exhibition to test confirmation versus increase models, ascertaining whether prestige acquisition is a selection or influence process. This research capitalizes on the retrospective digitization of exhibition catalogues, allowing for large-scale longitudinal analysis heretofore unviable for researchers. We use the exhibition history of 1148 artists from the digitized archives of three major Dutch museums (Stedelijk, Boijmans-Van Beuningen, Van Abbe) from 1930 to 1989, as well as data on artists’ market performance from artprice.com and bibliographic data from the WorldCat database. We then employ network analysis to examine the 60-year interplay of associative status networks and determine how different networks predict subsequent auction performance. We find that status connections may have a point of diminishing returns by which comparison to high prestige peers increases one’s own prestige to a point, after which a high-status comparison network becomes a liability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Markets and Digital Histories) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
The Painting Industries of Antwerp and Amsterdam, 1500−1700: A Data Perspective
Arts 2019, 8(3), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030077 - 26 Jun 2019
Abstract
This study presents a data driven comparative analysis of the painting industries in sixteenth and seventeenth century Antwerp and Amsterdam. The popular view of the development of these two artistic centers still holds that Antwerp flourished in the sixteenth century and was succeeded [...] Read more.
This study presents a data driven comparative analysis of the painting industries in sixteenth and seventeenth century Antwerp and Amsterdam. The popular view of the development of these two artistic centers still holds that Antwerp flourished in the sixteenth century and was succeeded by Amsterdam after the former’s recapturing by the Spanish in 1585. However, a demographic analysis of the number of painters active in Antwerp and Amsterdam shows that Antwerp recovered relatively quickly after 1585 and that it remained the leading artistic center in the Low Countries, only to be surpassed by Amsterdam in the 1650’s. An analysis of migration patterns and social networks shows that painters in Antwerp formed a more cohesive group than painters in Amsterdam. As a result, the two cities responded quite differently to internal and external market shocks. Data for this study are taken from ECARTICO, a database and a linked data web resource containing structured biographical data on over 9100 painters working in the Low Countries until circa 1725. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Markets and Digital Histories) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Imperfect Data, Art Markets and Internet Research
Arts 2019, 8(3), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8030076 - 26 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The sheer volume of data generated on the Internet has reached unprecedented numerical heights and has enabled new data-driven methodologies to study art and its markets. Yet, this type of data-driven research has also generated several unexpected methodological constraints for art markets researchers, [...] Read more.
The sheer volume of data generated on the Internet has reached unprecedented numerical heights and has enabled new data-driven methodologies to study art and its markets. Yet, this type of data-driven research has also generated several unexpected methodological constraints for art markets researchers, particularly due to informational asymmetry. This observation is related to how various players on the Internet make data available, as well as summarize, transmit, gather, and access those data globally. It is not our ambition to present another historiography of art markets research, past and present. Rather, and in keeping with the theme of this special issue, we would like to focus on a few key constraints related to data-driven, contemporary art markets research, the Internet, and the structural recurrence of imperfect data. This contribution focuses on four areas of Internet research and its methods that are particularly problematic for researchers today, namely (1) auctions and online auctions; (2) dealers and galleries; (3) art indices; and (4) art fairs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Markets and Digital Histories) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Intermediaries and the Market: Hans Rottenhammer’s Use of Networks in the Copper Painting Market
Arts 2019, 8(2), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8020075 - 24 Jun 2019
Abstract
In Willem van Haecht’s Gallery of Cornelis van der Geest, The Last Judgment by the German artist Hans Rottenhammer stands prominently in the foreground. Signed and dated 1598, it is one of many copper panel paintings Rottenhammer produced and sent north of [...] Read more.
In Willem van Haecht’s Gallery of Cornelis van der Geest, The Last Judgment by the German artist Hans Rottenhammer stands prominently in the foreground. Signed and dated 1598, it is one of many copper panel paintings Rottenhammer produced and sent north of the Alps during his decade-long sojourn in Venice. That the work was valued alongside those of Renaissance masters raises questions about Rottenhammer’s artistic status and how the painting reached Antwerp. This essay examines Rottenhammer’s international market as a function of his relationships with artist-friends and agents, especially those in Venice’s German merchant community. By employing digital visualization tools alongside the study of archival documents, the essay attends to the intermediary connections within a social network, and their effects on the art market. It argues for Rottenhammer’s use of—and negotiation with—intermediaries to establish an international career. Through digital platforms, such as ArcGIS and Palladio, the artist’s patronage group is shown to have shifted geographically, from multiple countries around 1600 to Germany and Antwerp after 1606, when he relocated to Augsburg. Yet, the same trusted friends and associates he had established in Italy continued to participate in Rottenhammer’s business of art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Markets and Digital Histories) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Innovative Exuberance: Fluctuations in the Painting Production in the 17th-Century Netherlands
Arts 2019, 8(2), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts8020072 - 18 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The surprising and rapid flowering of Dutch art and the Dutch art market from the late 16th century to the mid-17th century have propelled scholars to quantify the volume of production and to determine the source of its growth. However, existing studies have [...] Read more.
The surprising and rapid flowering of Dutch art and the Dutch art market from the late 16th century to the mid-17th century have propelled scholars to quantify the volume of production and to determine the source of its growth. However, existing studies have not explored the use of known paintings to specify and visualize the fluctuations of painting production in the Dutch Republic. Employing data mining techniques to leverage the most comprehensive datasets of Netherlandish paintings (RKD), this paper visualizes and analyzes the trend of painting production in the Northern Netherlands throughout the 17th-century. The visualizations verify the existing observations on the market saturation and industry stagnation in 1630–1640. In spite of this market condition, the growth of painting production was sustained until the 1660s. This study argues that the irrational risk-taking behavior of painters and the over-enthusiasm for painting in the public created a “social bubble” and the subsequent contraction of the production was a market correction back to a stable state. However, these risk-taking attitudes during the bubble time spurred exuberant artistic innovations that highlight the Dutch contribution to the development of art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Markets and Digital Histories) Printed Edition available
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