The business of art is conducted much like any other commercial venture in which something is bought, sold, or traded, and yet a work of art is not a commodity in the ordinary sense. Its value can fluctuate radically in an instant, depending on the influence of collectors, dealers, curators, critics, or connoisseurs. Their assessments of historic, intellectual, and aesthetic values affect a work's monetary value in the marketplace.
The materials in this exhibition document past business activity in the art market. Recognizing their tremendous potential as research tools for the study of provenance (a work of art's history of ownership), and the history of aesthetics, taste, patronage, and collecting, the Getty Research Institute acquires the records of various players in the art market.
Art Matters! Nov. Issue Scroll to #5 Internet Resource for article link.