Art History Festival | Worlds of Art: Artists, Buyers and Markets

This talk considers the art scene between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, a period that saw dramatic changes in the display and consumption of art across Europe and America. A mass public was gaining access to modern art through exhibitions and museums – for example the Salon and Louvre in Paris, or the Royal Academy and National Gallery in London. Critics offered this new art audience guidance on the latest trends and set out their views on the best and worst of what was on display. For artists the changes presented both opportunities and risks: on one hand, a chance to win enormous wealth and international celebrity; on the other, a real possibility that their work would be condemned or – perhaps worse – ignored. In a wider sense also, commentators worried over the relative benefits or otherwise of increased public access to art: was this an opportunity to ‘civilize’ the people, or was art itself in danger of being cheapened, and reduced to just one more popular commodity?

This event is delivered by the Victoria and Albert Museum.


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