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Revisiting Harrison and Cynthia White’s Academic vs. Dealer-Critic System

Abstract : The field of art market studies is based on a famous opposition, coined by Harrison and Cynthia White in 1965, regarding the "academic" system, as opposed to the "dealer-critic" one. Published in 1965, their book, Canvases and Careers, Institutional Change in the French Painting World, was qualified by Patricia Mainardi and Pierre Vaisse, but their criticism dated back to the 1990s. In the meantime, the development of digital methods makes possible a broader reassessment of Harrison and Cynthia White's theory. Based on a corpus of Parisian auction sales, from 1831 through 1925, this paper uses econometrics to call into question the antagonism between the academic and the dealer-critic system, and comes to another conclusion: the academic system was crucial to determine the value of artworks and its efficiency did not collapse in the 1870s, nor in the 1880s, but rather after the Great War.
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Léa Saint-Raymond. Revisiting Harrison and Cynthia White’s Academic vs. Dealer-Critic System. Arts, United Theological Seminary, 2019, 8, ⟨10.3390/arts8030096⟩. ⟨hal-02986357⟩



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