18-21 January 2015, London
“Curators and the Art Trade: A Discussion of Opportunities and Dilemmas”
From 18-21 January 2015 the CODART ACHTTIEN congress took place in London. The congress was organized in conjunction with the National Gallery and the Wallace Collection and focused on the relationship between curators and the art trade. The National Gallery hosted us on Monday and gave us the exclusive opportunity to visit the exhibition Rembrandt: The Late Works in private, a few hours before the show was dismantled. On Tuesday morning we were welcomed at the newly refurbished Wallace Collection. On these pages you can find the program and information on registration and accommodation, the art dealer tour, the city walking tour, Speakers’ Corner, excursions and the optional program on Wednesday. We also provide you with background information about the congress locations. You can read a description of the congress theme below.
Congress theme: “Curators and the Art Trade: A Discussion of Opportunities and Dilemmas”
The CODART congress in London will focus on the relationship between museum professionals and those working in the art trade. Historically, the fields of the museum profession and the art trade were intrinsically linked. Today there is a striking distinction between both and our relationship is nowadays even regulated by ethical guidelines. The congress theme wants to explore how this relationship can be further developed if both parties understand each other better.
Museum curators often maintain close contacts with art dealers and auctioneers in order to gain knowledge about the art market and works of art available on the market. Dealers’ and auctioneers’ archives are valuable sources of information for works of art which have not entered public collections. However, this information is not always (digitally) available. The same applies to knowledge of private collections and the unseen works they might contain. Close contact with the art market can thus prove to be very useful for museum professionals.
However, questions remain, such as: Does a close relationship between a museum and a dealer affect negotiations about price? Does it influence the museum’s acquisition policy? What happens when dealers and auction houses become Corporate Sponsors or Patrons of a museum? And how do these issues relate to the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums?
In lectures, statements and discussions, we will unravel this fascinating relationship, discuss how to tackle certain delicate issues, and come to suggestions on how a better mutual understanding can lead to increased shared benefits.