The art market and the narrative of the heroic male painter

In cooperation with the Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies (ARTES)

19jun2018 17:00 - 18:30


An ongoing research project focussing on the politicised narrative of the heroic individualised (male) painter leads to a roundtable discussion at SPUI25.

The project by Professor of Political Economy Christopher May examines the narrative of the heroic male painter itself, still utilised extensively in for instance artist’s monographs, as well as the historic role of artists’ assistants (and workshops) in the production of painters’ output and the contribution of commissioning and patronage in shaping creativity.

In the usual account of painters’ production, these issues are mostly regarded as problems for attribution or for authenticity, and to have a clear impact on value; but Christopher May suggests what they reveal is the power of the art market to establish a narrative of artistic production that serves the needs of investors.

Christopher May will give a talk about some of his findings. Olav Velthuis will respond to the lecture.

About the speakers

Christopher May is Professor of Political Economy at Lancaster University UK and has published widely on the political economy of intellectual property, the arrival of the information society and more recently on the Rule of Law as the common sense of global politics. His new project brings together his professional interests in political narrative and its place in political economic analysis with his long term personal interest in the history of art.

Olav Velthuis is Professor at the Department of Sociology of the University of Amsterdam, specializing in economic sociology, sociology of the arts and cultural sociology. At the department, he is director of the program group Cultural Sociology; he used to be director of the MA programs in Sociology. His research interests include the globalization of art markets, the interrelations between market and gift exchange, the valuation and pricing of contemporary art, and the moral and socio-technological dimensions of markets for adult content.

Pola Cebulak (moderator) is Assistant professor in European Law at the University of Amsterdam.


You can sign up for this program for free. If you subscribe for the program we count on your presence. If you are unable to attend, please let us know via | T: +31 (0)20 525 8142.

Location: SPUI25