The French Revolution and the ensuing Napoleonic Wars instigated a sweeping redistribution of art throughout Europe. Large volumes of valuable objects – often entire collections, from monasteries, churches, and palaces – were widely dispersed via auction and private treaty sales. Networks of agents provided the infrastructure for the circulation of art works and sales information across borders, which promoted a flourishing international art market.
This two-day conference seeks to examine the role of London in this developing market by shedding new light on the mechanisms of the art trade that connected major European centres around 1800. Scholars from a range of disciplines and countries will discuss broad research questions such as:
- Did the long-term effects of the political turmoil in France alter the existing networks of dealers and connoisseurs?
- What would have been the motivations to ship art works to distant cities?
- How sophisticated was the auction catalogue as economic tool and literary genre in various countries?
- Is it really possible to talk about a European art market or were there still relatively independent local markets?
Please note that there will be refreshment breaks, however lunch is not provided for delegates.
Organised by the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, and the National Gallery, London
Image above: detail from Flemish, Cognoscenti in a Room hung with Pictures, about 1620