Name hunting, visual characteristics, and "new old masters" : tracking the taste for paintings at eighteenth-century auctionsName hunting, visual characteristics, and "new old masters" : tracking the taste for paintings at eighteenth-century auctions
Faculty of Arts. History
Centre for Urban History
2012Davis, Calif., 2012
Eighteenth-century studies. - Davis, Calif.
46(2012):1, p. 57-84
University of Antwerp
Dries Lyna, Name Hunting, Visual Characteristics, and "New Old Masters": Tracking the Taste for Paintings at Eighteenth-Century Auctions In research on the historical formation of the art canon, market valuations are usually perceived as mere reflections of the constant reexamination of the canon that took place elsewhere, in art theoretical treatises and artists' biographies. Questions on the exact relationship between market forces, individual preferences, and theoretical art canons have not been part of the research agenda. The article addresses this complex interplay by examining buyers' behavior at eighteenth-century auction sales in the Southern Netherlands. Over 5000 lots of paintings allow us to map out taste patterns for art, compare the market's ranking of artists with the canon, and detect specific buyer behavior at art auctions in the late eighteenth century.