Local/Global: Mapping Nineteenth-Century London’s Art Market – Pamela Fletcher and Anne Helmreich with David Israel and Seth Erickson

“In this article, we explore the dialogue between the local and the global art markets that established a distinctive dynamic for the British art world as experienced in London. Our analysis derives from two complementary data sets and visualizations. The first is a map plotting the locations of major London commercial art galleries between 1850 and 1914, authored by Pamela Fletcher and David Israel. The second is an analysis by Anne Helmreich, with the assistance of Seth Erickson, of sales data drawn from the stock books of Goupil & Cie, and its successor Boussod, Valadon & Cie, which cover transactions at the firm’s various branches located in Paris, London, The Hague, Berlin, Brussels, and New York during the years 1846–1919.[2]

Combining these two analytical fields—the geography of the London art market and the social and financial network of a retail firm situated within that landscape—is a first step toward our larger goal of representing, or perhaps more accurately, modeling, the full warp and weft of the London art market. The figure in the carpet, we argue, cannot be comprehended without a sense of the overall design; the significance of any one firm within the field—or the action of an artist—cannot be ascertained without a full understanding of the whole. But what defines that whole? Our discipline’s increasing recognition of the transnational conditions that shaped the production, reception, and consumption of art underscores the importance of this question.[3] It is particularly relevant for London’s art market, which was one of the most robust in the world in the nineteenth century. Its identity as a central hub in global networks of finance, trade, communication, and Empire made it a critical nexus in the international art market. In this article, we use the international reach of the firm of Goupil & Cie/Boussod, Valadon & Cie to define the geographic boundaries of our “whole.” Conceiving this article as both a summation of our projects to date and a building block for a larger study of the art market, we anticipate that subsequent data sets will allow us to expand these geographic parameters.”

Full article available here.

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