CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Art market and connoisseurship in the Dutch Golden Age

symposium: 4 November 2005


Anna Tummers and Koenraad Jonckheere
in collaboration with
Instituut voor Cultuur en Geschiedenis, Universiteit van Amsterdam

Amsterdams Centrum voor de Studie van de Gouden Eeuw
Onderzoeksschool Kunstgeschiedenis

From the invitation

Although the art market in the Dutch Golden Age has been much researched in the last few decades, and there has been a growing interest in early modern connoisseurship, these fields of research have hardly been studied in relation to one another. Jeffrey Muller was one of the first scholars to look into seventeenth century views on the authenticity of pictures in his article ā€œMeasures of authenticity: the detection of copies in the early literature on connoisseurshipā€ (in: Kathleen Preciado (ed.), Retaining the original: multiple originals, copies and reproductions, Washington 1989). After closely analyzing a wide range of treatises, Muller did not continue to look into inventories, sales catalogue and the like. Yet he speculated that: ā€œArguments were provided to give everyone satisfaction with what he or she could afford in an art market where prices were set with increasing regularity on a scale of authenticity.ā€

Recent studies of the art market in the seventeenth and early eightteenth century enable us to look more closely at seventeenth-century connoisseurship. Especially Neil de Marchi and Hans van Miegroet have made an important contribution in this respect with their article ā€˜Pricing invention: ā€œoriginalsā€, ā€œcopiesā€ and their relative value in seventeenth century Netherlandish art marketsā€™ (in: Victor Ginzburgh and Pierre-Michel Menger (eds.), Economics of the arts, Amsterdam 1996). Nonetheless, many question are still to be explored, such as: Who priced and attributed pictures for inventories and sales, and how did they determine a paintingā€™s value? How did the price of a painting relate to its quality? The purpose of this symposium is to try to answer some of these questions while outlining new areas of research.


10:00 Registration and coffee

Chair: Eric-Jan Sluijter
10:30 Koenraad Jonckheere
Brand names, trademarks and nameless products: painter names and seventeenth-century connoisseurship
11:30 Anna Tummers
The painter versus the connoisseur: the best judge of pictures in seventeenth-century theory and practice
12:30 Lunch break

Chair: Marten Jan Bok
14:00 Natasja Peeters
ā€˜Like ye lawes of Medes and Persiansā€™: Peter Paul Rubensā€™s attitude towards paintingsā€™ prices in the early seventeenth century
15:00 Hans van Miegroet & Neil de Marchi
Connoisseur-dealers, assymetry, and transparency in markets for Netherlandish paintings in France
16:00 Concluding remarks