Appel à communications : « Beyond Borders – The key for art market power » (Lisbonne, 2-3 novembre 2020)


Beyond Borders – The key for art market power

Casa-Museu Medeiros e Almeida (Lisbon, Portugal)

2-3 November 2020


The present conference seeks to counteract the frequent tendency of scholars of art market studies to mainly focus their attention on collectors, rather than on suppliers and intermediaries. In this spirit, we urge researchers to reflect upon the generic idea according to which these art market players are all the more powerful because they have a multinational presence, specifically various branches in several countries.

For example Christie’s and Sotheby’s, multinational corporations, now dominate the secondary art market, but we can also cite earlier examples such as the Parisian dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, who conquered America, the firm Goupil & Cie, the New Yorker Knoedler, who established himself on the European market, or Agnew’s, the Duveen brothers, the Islamic art dealer Dikran Kelekian and, for Asian art objects, the firm Yamanaka & Co.

The purpose of this conference, therefore, is to question this rule of thumb, according to which the leaders of the art market are also those who have been able to conquer foreign countries and who also own several branches of their business. The papers selected will preferably cover the period from 1800, after the disintegration of the Dutch East India Company, to the present day, and should take into account the following points.


  1. What is “market power”? A first methodological issue concerns defining what is called « market power » in the case of the art market, and to measure it. Market power can be analysed from an economic but also a sociological point of view, as a “power of prescription”, i.e. the ability to define what/who is valuable. Are the actors with the highest turnover also those with the most significant prescribing power? How to integrate the consideration of a multinational presence or several branches in this definition and measurement?


  1. Who are the leaders in the art market? The criteria above can help identifying the main actors in the art market, whether for fine arts, decorative arts, non-European artefacts, etc., focusing on suppliers and intermediaries rather than on collectors and artists. These monographic approaches must be substantiated, ex-ante, by a more macroeconomic analysis, to justify why the analysed actor is a market leader. Are the leaders identified the ones with multiple branches or with a presence in various countries, both temporary or permanent? And if not, who are they really?


  1. What are the implementation strategies of the actors? The papers addressing this issue will seek to distinguish the geographical strategies of market players, and may be based on case studies. Why do some actors seek to expand their business abroad? What are the trade-offs to be taken into account in the art market? How does an actor open a branch in a very concrete way? What networks are mobilized? Is the artistic offer the same in all branches? Similarly, do the prices charged vary and, if so, in which direction?



ARTIS – Institute of Art History, School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon

École Normale Supérieure (Paris)


Organising Committee

Vera Mariz – ARTIS – Institute of Art History, FLUL

Léa Saint-Raymond – École Normale Supérieure (Paris)


Scientific Committee

Adelaide Duarte – Instituto de História da Arte, NOVA/FCSH

Agnès Penot-Lejeune – Independent Researcher

Christian Huemer – Belvedere Research Center

Cléa Patin – Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3

Diana J. Kostyrko – RSHA, Australian National University

Elizabeth Pergam – Sotheby’s Institute of Art

Filip Vermeylen – Erasmus University Rotterdam

Frances Fowle – Edinburgh College of Art

Maria João Baptista Neto – ARTIS – Institute of Art History, FLUL

Marta Perez-Ibanez – Independent Researcher

Natasha Degen – FIT, State University of New York

Sandra van Ginhoven – Getty Research Institute

Yaëlle Biro – The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Executive Committee

Lúcia Marinho – ARTIS – Institute of Art History, FLUL


Submission guidelines

We welcome papers on the conference topics and other themes as long as they are aligned with the conference general goals.


The language of the conference will be English and the submissions should include:

  • Title of the proposal;
  • Identification of the applicant: name, institutional affiliation, country and e-mail;
  • Abstract of 400 words or less;
  • Short professional bio up to 100 words.


All proposals must be submitted in Word format to with and in cc.


The proposed contributions will be reviewed and a selection will be made by the Scientific Committee, through a double-blind review process. All accepted papers will be published in a book.



February 15, 2020: Proposals submission

April 2020: Note of acceptance

December 18, 2020: Full paper submission


Registration fees

To register, please fill out and submit the online form available at

Full rate: 50 euros

Student rate: 25 euros

ARTIS and ENS Researchers: 25 euros

Members of the conference committees and institutional partners: free of charge


The conference registration fee for presenters and participants includes admission to opening and closing ceremonies, conference sessions, conference materials (bag, programme, book of abstracts and conference proceedings) and coffee breaks.


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