For centuries, London has been the center of the art market. Names like Christie's, Sotheby’s, and Bonhams are synonymous with luxury art trade today, but where does this tradition come from? On this walk we'll learn about the history of the auction houses, how art dealers function, and how the two interrelate.
Our walk will start in Mayfair, at the heart of this multi-billion dollar global business. Our course through the area will depend very much on current exhibitions and the interests of the group, and will include major auction houses as well as smaller galleries.
Typically, we begin this art tour of London with a basic background on the British passion for collecting and London's historic and contemporary role in the luxury market. Next, we'll introduce the history of Phillips and Bonhams, the auctioneers, and visit some of Bonhams salesrooms to consider the current exhibition. Here we may discuss how prices are determined and the the role of the auctioneer in the success of a sale. Our discussion will take us to the Fine Art Society and the Royal Academy, where we'll engage in a discussion on the key players of the art world, from the 18th century until today. We will contemplate the arbiters of style and fashion -from Beau Brummell to Saatchi and Jay Jopling- and how they can make or break the fortune of an artist.
Our walk will conclude with a visit to two of London's art institutions: Christie's and the White Cube Gallery. We'll discuss contemporary art, and how a gallery like White Cube has contributed to Damien Hirst becoming one of the highest-earning artists in the world.
At the end of our time together, we'll have a better understanding of how London’s art world functions, exploring the various ways in which art and antiques are bought and sold. We will also get the chance to visit some of the city’s most prestigious commercial galleries and auction houses, and see some important artworks and objects rarely on public view. This walk is a good complement to our British Museum
and Tate Modern tour