Art, the Law and the Market

The details
Art History and Theory
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2020
Friday 20 March 2020
12 August 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA V351 Curating,
BA V352 Curating (Including Year Abroad),
BA V353 Curating (including Placement Year),
BA V359 Curating (Including Foundation Year),
BA V35B Curating (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad)

Module description

This module explores art`s relationship with the law and the market, focusing on how issues such as property rights, valuation, market transparency, and digitisation have shaped and continue to reshape the field of art across different media.

The module has three overarching objectives. First, it seeks to provide a broad historical overview of art`s intersection with the law and the market, since only through such a historical understanding can students critically evaluate contemporary phenomena. Second, we will address the aesthetic and ethical implications of art's intersection with the law and the market: for example, through artists` intentional appropriation of copyrighted imagery, or through cases of restitution involving plundered artefacts or artworks. Third, the module examines legal and market-related issues that have dramatically transformed different art forms since the 1970s, such as the rise of the Internet and the globalization of financial markets.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

to introduce key issues that have shaped art's relationship to law and the market;

to nuance student understanding of the social and political forces that have led to changes in art law and the art market;

to introduce students to specialised debates in past and recent literature around art's intersection with law and the market;

to heighten student awareness of different methods for analysing major legal and market-related issues that drive the production, circulation and reception of art;

to stimulate students to develop skills in written communication through written and oral communication

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students should have:

a greater appreciation of how market forces and legal issues have shaped the production, circulation and reception of art;

a heightened awareness of how technological change, national contexts and ideology have shaped art law and the art market;

insight into the different ways social and political forces have impacted art law and the art market;

the capacity to synthesise, historicise, and critically analyse recent legal and market-related developments in the art world;

the ability to demonstrate all of these competences through verbal expression, both written and oral.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

10 x 2 hour seminars


  • McCauley, Anne. (2008-02) '"Merely mechanical": on the origins of photographic copyright in France and Great Britain', in Art History. vol. 31 (1) , pp.57-78
  • Richardson, Brenda. (2000) 'Unexpected Directions: Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawings', in Sol LeWitt: a retrospective, San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art., pp.37-46
  • Collector Says Gallery Lost Key to Minimal Art,
  • Cuno, James. (2008) 'Introduction: The Crux of the Matter', in Who owns antiquity?: museums and the battle over our ancient heritage, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press., pp.1-20
  • Zarobell, John. (2015) 'Durand-Ruel and the Market for Modern Art, from 1870 to 1873', in Inventing impressionism: Paul Durand-Ruel and the modern art market, London: National Gallery Company., pp.76-97
  • (18 July 2015) 'Instagram, an artist and the $100,000 selfies: appropriation in the digital age', in The Guardian.
  • Stokes, Simon. (c2012) 'The Copyright System: Justification and History', in Art and copyright, Oxford: Hart., pp.11-30
  • Orley Ashenfelter. (no date) 'Anatomy of the Rise and Fall of A Price-fixing Conspiracy: Auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's', in Journal of Competition Law and Economics. vol. 1 (1) , pp.3-20
  • Krauss, Rosalind E. (2011) ''1977' and '1980'', in Art since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism, London: Thames & Hudson.
  • Mehring, Christine. (1963-) 'Emerging Market: The Birth of the Contemporary Art Fair', in Artforum, New York: Artforum International Magazine., pp.322-329
  • Secrets of the (High-End) Art Market | The Huffington Post,
  • Stokes, Simon. (c2012) Art and copyright, Oxford: Hart.
  • Sandholtz, Wayne. (2007) 'Nazi Plunder: Strengthening the Rules', in Prohibiting plunder: how norms change, New York: Oxford University Press., pp.127-166
  • Merryman, John. (2009) Thinking about the Elgin Marbles: Critical Essays on Cultural Property, Art, and Law, Alphen aan den Rijn: Kluwer Law International.
  • Shapreau, Carla. (2002) 'Art, Internet, and U.S. Copyright Law', in Dear images: art, copyright and culture, London: Ridinghouse., pp.142-159
  • Marchi, Neil De; Miegroet, Hans J. Van. (1994-09) 'Art, Value, and Market Practices in the Netherlands in the Seventeenth Century', in The Art Bulletin. vol. 76 (3) , pp.451-
  • Bazyler, Michael J. (2003) Holocaust justice: the battle for restitution in America's courts, New York, NY: New York University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Essay (4000 Words) 22/04/2020 80%
Practical Participation 5%
Practical In-Class Presentation 15%
Exam 120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main)

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Michael Tymkiw



External examiner

Prof Richard Simon Clay
Newcastle University
Professor of Digital Cultures
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Art History and Theory

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