Exploring the Plurality of Artists’ Practices: Artists as dealers and agents

Adriana Turpin, IESA, Paris
Marie TavinorRoyal Academy of Arts

Tropes from the Romantic era often depicted artistic practice as emanating from ‘genius’ i.e. an internal surge to create which separated artists from the rest of society. In sociological terms, this growing autonomy of artistic production independent from traditional patronage fostered new norms of critical interpretation and a detachment between creation and consumption. This session, however, aims to subvert such Romantic compartmentalisation of artistic activities and think about artistic practices- in the plural- which extend beyond the intellectualisation of disegno. Artists were involved in negotiating the complex art worlds of their day, cultivating patrons, creating support networks or supplementing their incomes through dealing in art. From the Renaissance, artists often acted for the patrons in both the primary and secondary market, shaping opportunities for other artists than themselves. Indeed, their knowledge and experience as artists was highly valued. In the 18th century individuals such as Giovanni Maria Sasso or Gavin Hamilton operated simultaneously as restorers, dealers, agents or collectors.

The papers in the session thus seek to bridge seemingly disparate areas of artistic practice and explore the activities of artists as commercial agents from the 16th century to the early 20th century. They open discussion on how artists’ shaped taste and collections, acted as dealers, or revised their own practices in response to an increasingly international art market.


The Plurality of Weavers’ Practices in Renaissance Italy
Carlo Scapecchi (University of Edinburgh)

Jacques Aved, a Portraitist, Diplomat and Dealer during the Reign of Louis XV
Christine Godfroy-Gallardo (HICSA – Université Paris 1 – Sorbonne)

The Role of Artists as Agents and Dealers in Building the Art Collection of Count Saverio Marchese (1757-1833)
Krystle Attard Trevisan (Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London

 ‘A peculiar accident’: The artist as insurance underwriter
Avigail Moss (University of Southern California, Los Angeles)

Shaping the Art Market in the 1930s and 40s: Giorgio de Chirico and the self-promotion
Caterina Caputo (University of Florence)

Modernist Market Making: The Case of Henri ‘Le Douanier’ Rousseau
Kathryn Brown (Loughborough University)




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