barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


The UK Fine Art Market c.1929 – 1960

Study Day


The spectacular Oppenheimer auction in Christie’s in July 1936 was well attended, and some of the number of works of art attracted unprecedented prices – despite the economic and political vicissitudes of the time. Conversely, according to Kenneth Clark, by April 1938, ‘…there was an embarrassing number of important pictures on the market…’.

When the Barber’s first director, Thomas Bodkin, was appointed in 1935, one of his challenges was to acquire art of the highest quality for, and on behalf of, its Trustees. Was it an opportune moment to be collecting?

This study day re-examines the fine art market from the economic crash of 1929 to its period of recovery following World War II and beyond, into the 1950s and ‘60s. Scholars and art market specialists will discuss topics including:

  • An overview of the fine art market in the UK from 1929-1960
  • Art dealers and their relationships with national and regional galleries
  • The effect of foreign buyers on UK dealers
  • National and regional collections acquired during this period
  • Country house collections
  • University collections

For a full programme of the days events, click here.

To download the speakers’ precise of papers, click here.
To download the speakers’ biographies, click here.

FREE, but booking essential. Lunch and refreshments provided. All welcome.

To make a booking, contact 0121 414 2261 or


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