Academic Session 20: Reading 2013
39th Annual Conference and Bookfair
University of Reading
11-13 April 2013
London’s Commercial Art Market: Art on sale and display from 1920 to now
Jennifer Powell, Tate Britain, firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Just what has turned London into one of the world’s three capitals of art? Who did it, and how? And what kind of people are they?’ These questions were posed by John Russell and Bryan Robertson in their book Private View (1965), in which they suggested that (amongst others) London’s Hanover Gallery (1947–73) was championing a new notion of art dealing and playing a significant role in shaping the emergence of London as one of the world’s ‘three art capitals’ alongside Paris and New York. This session interrogates the roles that commercial galleries played in positioning/re-positioning London as a leading centre for art from the 1920s to the present. The 1920s and the immediate post-war period in particular, saw the birth of many new galleries that supported British artists and their contemporaries, fashioned reputations, and increasingly encouraged international dialogues. The session explores how the development of shifting definitions of ‘new’ and ‘modernist’ art practices in Britain might have been shaped and promoted on the commercial stage.
The session considers the commercial gallery as a site for international exchanges; its role in the development of modernism(s) in Britain; changing modes of display; relationships between exhibition programmes and selling strategies/the dealer and the artist. Some papers investigate galleries that have been neglected in scholarship to date and those that particularly supported the display and sale of sculpture; others consider the commercial gallery as social/moral spaces.
Evelyn Silber (University of Glasgow) The Leicester Galleries and the promotion of Modernism between the Wars
Gill Hedley (Independent) ‘Arthur Jeffress for Painting’
Jutta Vinzent (The University of Birmingham) Social Space and Commercial Art Galleries in 1930s London
Rachel Smith (University of York/Tate Britain) Changing the Face of St Ives? Markets and Representations in the 1950s
Nick Baker (Open University) The Marketing of the New British Sculptors 1981–90
Andrew Brighton (London Consortium) Future-value and the Structural Ethics of the Modernist Market