Economic Engagements with Art

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Historically, economists have had very little to say about art: in the latter half of this century, that has begun to change. Difficult issues, like pricing and art valuation, the influence on pricing by what is fashionable in art, and the nature of the auction, have recently been tackled by economists in spite of elusive answers. Economic Engagements with Art suggests that taste and fashion in art need not be mysterious or outside rational discourse, and that they can be studied by economists to the great benefit of the discipline.
This volume, which deals mostly with painting, is divided into three sections that consider the interplay between art and economics from different perspectives. In the first section, Art and Economic Theory, economists clarify the need to construct a framework for understanding the roles of taste and fashion in art valuation. A historical view is considered in a piece about the teacher of Velasquez and artistic adviser to the Inquisition in Seville, who took into account not only market factors, like demand, but also the "truth" and the nobility of the artist’s profession and of the painting itself. Also in this section is an essay on Rousseau’s perspective on the worth of a painting based on its envy value in social circles; other contributions focus on William Stanley Jevons, a nineteenth century British political economist, whose problems with art stemmed from the uniqueness of each work, rendering definitive market and economic terms irrelevant. The second section of the book, Art and Economic Policy, looks at broader policy issues with regard to the historical role of art. Essays consider policy with respect to art exports and imports and federal patronage of the arts during theDepression; Lionel Robbins and the political economy of art; and the interplay among economy, architecture, and politics as shown in certain postwar Hilton hotels. In the final section, The Business of Art, a variety of perspectives are considered: the economics of art in early modern times, discussed in the context of both humanist and scholastic approaches; the pricing of pictures based on a study of the Smith-Reynolds connection; and the relationships between Otto Nuerath, graphic art, and the social order.
The first collaborative and historical treatment of the connection between art and economics, Economic Engagements with Art will appeal to people across, from history and economics to art history.

. Márcia Balisciano, William J. Barber, Neil de Marchi, Bertil Fridén, Crauford D. Goodwin, Guido Guerzoni, Robert J. Leonard, Harro Maas, Ernest Mathijs, Steven G. Medema, Bert Mosselmans, Zarinés Negrón, Marcia Pointon, Helen Rees, Toon van Houdt, Annabel Wharton, Sara Zablotney

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Economic Engagements with Art . . . serves as a reminder that post-modernism’s sometimes self-important-sounding critique of art as a commodity has long roots. Artists, critics, buyers, and sellers have long recognized that artworks are products whose values and meanings shift in relation to laws of supply and demand, to the changing contexts in which they are experienced, or simply to fashion’s perennial, passing fancy.” - Edward M. Gomez, Duke Magazine
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Part 1. Art and Economic Theory
Francisco Pacheco: Economist for the Art World 33
The Problem of Unique Goods as Factors of Production: Rousseau on Art and the Economy 41
Obscure Objects of Desire? Nineteenth-Century British Economists and the Price(s) of "Rare Art" 57
Pacifying the Workman: Ruskin and Jevons on Labor and Popular Culture 85
Jevons's Music Manuscript and the Political Economy of Music 121
The Economics of Art through Art Critics' Eyes 157
Part 2. Art and Economic Policy
Art Exports and the Construction of National Heritage in Late-Victorian and Edwardian Great Britain 187
International Commerce in the Fine Arts and American Political Economy, 1789-1913 209
"Sweet Are the Uses of Adversity": Federal Patronage of the Arts in the Great Depression 235
Positive Science, Normative Man: Lionel Robbins and the Political Economy of Art 256
Economy, Architecture, and Politics: Colonialist and Cold War Hotels 285
Part 3. The Business of Art
The Economics of Art in Early Modern Times: Some Humanist and Scholastic Approaches 303
Liberalitas, Magnificentia, Splendor: The Classic Origins of Italian Renaissance Lifestyles 332
Ingenuity, Preference, and the Pricing of Pictures: The Smith-Reynolds Connection 379
Production and Reproduction: Commerce in Images in Late-Eighteenth-Century London 413
Dealer in Magic: James Cox's Jewelry Museum and the Economics of Luxurious Spectacle in Late-Eighteenth-Century London 423
"Seeing Is Believing": Otto Neurath, Graphic Art, and the Social Order 452
Contributors 479
Index 482
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