“Nothing like the real thing!” Connoisseurship; Dead or Alive in the Digital Age?

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Convenor: Elizabeth Herridge, Arts and Arts Management Consultant


Once a vital component as a determinant of value, has the practice of Connoisseurship in the art and auction market been subsumed by technology and diminished through easy access to electronic images of artworks? Or are we perhaps witnessing the development of a new methodology, a new kind of Connoisseurship for the digital age?

Course dates

14 - 15 July 2016

9.30am - 5.30pm

Christie's King Street

This session will explore issues related to the changing definition, value and practice of Connoisseurship from the eighteenth century to the present day and its impact on the art and auction market. We will explore whether its definition has changed over time, as well as its function in determining authenticity and value. The role of technology in terms of the accessibility of visual media platforms and their use by collectors and professionals in the art world will be examined in this context.

We will explore the experience produced through the use of electronic platforms and the judgments that they might facilitate in the viewer. Fundamentally, we will consider whether a new kind of methodology or approach to Connoisseurship is developing through the use of these platforms. The larger question of whether it is still necessary to look at art in person or if an electronic image is an acceptable substitute will be discussed. Finally, if we believe the premise that there is “nothing like the real thing”, and that art must be viewed in person and not through the lens of technology, then what is its value in the art and auction market in the digital age? 

Dr Julie Reiss, Christie's Education, New York
Debunking the Original: Technology, Public Perception and Tim’s Vermeer. 

Mr. Michael Backman, Principal and Director of Michael Backman Limited.
Antiques Dealer: From Dinosaurs to Digital.

Elizabeth B. Herridge
Please check one answer: Connoisseurship training? ...Yes....No.....Other/Explain



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