Master's Programme in Art, Law and Business
Note on Higher Education from 2020-2021
Christie’s will cease providing higher education programmes in London and New York from 2021. This means that we will not be taking new students for the Master’s programmes from September 2020. Further information can be found in the press release.
Christie’s Education will remain committed to its current students until they successfully complete their studies, and maintain its lifelong commitment to alumni. The alumni association and global alumni services will continue to be made available through the normal channels and platforms.
The information below refers to the current 2019-2020 programme (Closed for Admissions)
The MSc in Art, Law and Business is a 15-month, full-time, cross-disciplinary postgraduate programme which equips students with an advanced understanding of international art markets.
The MSc programme is unique in combining three challenging and intensively taught components in Art History, Art Law and Art Business, whilst providing a dynamic learning experience in a professional environment at the heart of the art world. It focuses on how the art market functions from both commercial and legal perspectives, while maintaining a critical and intellectual understanding of the art and artefacts around which the market turns.
The programme offers a high level of academic and critical understanding of art, art law, and art business, and directly networks you into professional practice. Many of the lectures and study visits are led by professional practitioners, such as commercial gallerists, lawyers, artists and curators. Students also have the benefit of an integrated work placement during the summer and/or fourth term of study.
Creative and lively, the teaching and learning environment stimulates problem-solving and original thinking through assignments based upon professional models of practice. In addition to a traditional rigorous academic foundation based on essays, reports and examinations, students have the opportunity to create auction sales, assess art investment funds, write a sales catalogue and propose a curatorial project for an art fair. Students will also learn about established and emerging art markets through fieldwork on international study trips. Previously, our students have studied art world events and emerging markets in places such as Marrakesh, Seoul, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town and Sydney, as well as exploring and engaging with the intellectual debates of major curatorial events such as Documenta in Kassel and the Venice Biennale.
The programme attracts students who are passionate, committed, and hardworking from a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds. Students will become a part of the global Christie’s alumni network and be able to meet a range of alumni working in the art world, both in London and overseas.
The MSc in Art, Law and Business aims to provide students with a professional level of knowledge and understanding of international art markets, giving them the transferrable skills, both intellectual and practical, necessary to operate in the commercial art world and beyond. Our graduates are well-positioned to work in auction houses, commercial galleries and art fairs, as well as in professions dealing with art insurance, art marketing, and art publishing.Typical early outcomes for employment include roles in auction houses, in client services, business development, business intelligence, art advisories or in related financial sectors.
Study trips are a key component of the hands-on approach that characterises Christie’s Education. Carefully chosen destinations are the key to experiencing a variety of international art markets and creative art practices.Past study trips have included visits to Venice, Paris, Vienna, Turin, Tokyo, Marrakesh, Hong Kong, Istanbul, São Paulo and Sydney. The study trips for each academic year are confirmed at the start of the year. The cost of study trips is contained within programme tuition fees.
The teaching methods employed at Christie's Education consist of small-group seminars and tutorials. A key feature of our programmes is object-based learning through study trips and an integrated work placement. In addition to this, students are expected to conduct their own independent study and research. This programme is validated by The Open University.
The Professional Development Programme that is available for all of our Master’s students is designed to complement their study. Our Career Services Officers strive to provide students with the necessary skills and exciting opportunities to find a meaningful career following graduation.
Approximately 90% of our graduates progress to a commerce career.
For further information please contact our London campus:
Tel: +44 (0)207 665 4350
The programme places art history and object-based study at the centre of the experience. It consists of two modules taught across three terms. It combines postgraduate-level theory and methodology with practical object-based study offering training in the professional practice of cataloguing works of art, an essential skill to work as art specialist. The Art component is taught through lectures, seminars and study visits as well as specialist masterclasses led by artists, curators, conservation specialists, commercial gallerists and specialists in the auction house.
30 credits in total
Art 1: Methodology and Theory
This module provides a toolbox of ideas and approaches to study historical and contemporary art and visual culture.
The module works at the level of macro-analysis providing critical awareness of the history of art as a broad field of study and as a discourse. It equips students with an understanding of how artworks and cultural artefacts become carriers of meaning and value, and how to discriminate between alternative interpretations. Seminar topics and discussions draw on issues of ongoing debate.
Through direct and discursive engagement with artworks and artefacts experienced in diverse contexts such as commercial galleries, art fairs, artists’ studios, museums and exhibitions, you learn about different frameworks of validation and valuation of works of art. The module encourages students to take an informed and critical stance in relation to vital issues at the forefront of cultural debate in a globalised art world.
Art 2: Discovering Art Works
This module shifts in approach to micro-analysis and studying artworks in terms of specific instances of conception, production, distribution and validation. It offers the opportunity to examine specific artworks in a highly focused way in order to grasp art’s dynamic relation to complex, cultural, historical, critical and commercial contexts. This module uses a range of current international art market categories as frameworks for case-study analysis.
It also provides the knowledge, understanding and practical skills to investigate artworks and cultural artefacts through primary research incorporating an advanced understanding of their materials and production processes and a fundamental concern with creative practice.
Teaching and learning bring particular emphasis to professional techniques of enquiry, including systematic visual analysis and recording, provenance research and cataloguing of works of art and
cultural artefacts. Practical workshops and handling sessions demonstrated by auction house specialists, conservation specialists, studio technicians and artists provide a unique insight into a range of media and production techniques.
The Art Law component of the programme is designed to familiarise students with the fundamental legal principles that shape the global art market. The law component will be of great interest to those with a legal background but is designed to be accessible to those who are new to the subject. Each term of Art Law study is designed to allow students to explore the roles of national and international legal frameworks impacting the movement of art in an increasingly globalised marketplace. Classroom lectures and seminar sessions are supplemented with visits from legal specialists lecturing on a variety of topics. Study focuses primarily on English law, with reference to international jurisdictions where appropriate.
Students will be expected to lead class seminars, present on a variety of topics and engage in formal debates. Assessment varies across terms and may be in the form of in-class quizzes, presentations, and/or essays.
40 credits in total
Art Law 1: Art and Commerce
In the first module, students discover the legal framework of art market transactions. Students will study contract law to gain a thorough understanding of how contracts are formed and the various duties owed by each party to an art market transaction while looking how galleries and auctions houses conduct their transactions with artists and clients. We examine corporate regulation principles, allowing greater understanding of the legal structures governing the ways in which businesses are constructed and run within the marketplace.
Art Law 2: Creativity and the Law
In Art Law 2, the focus switches from art market transactions to legal standards relating to issues of creativity and authorship. Through the study of intellectual property law, we critically assess the
roles of copyright, moral rights, and resale rights in the production and sale of artworks. This module provides students with a fundamental knowledge about artists’ rights related to their artistic output, and gives students the necessary skills to assess and analyse how those rights impact the trading of those works on the global and domestic markets. Students will also spend time critically assessing the role the law plays in addressing issues of authenticity, attribution, and fraud in the art world.
Art Law 3: Restrictions on the Movement of Art
This module looks at various domestic and international legal frameworks in place impacting the movement of art between people and between countries. Students will gain an understanding of the aspects of direct and indirect taxation law that are most applicable to the art market, such as capital gains tax, inheritance tax, acceptance in lieu schemes, and VAT. This module also provides valuable knowledge relating to international trading restrictions such as export controls relating to cultural heritage and international treaties such as CITES. Students will engage in in-depth explorations of issues relating to title and restitution, looking at the problems that arise when art is stolen, looted, or traded illicitly and examining the legal frameworks that exist in an effort to respond to those problems.
NB: The Art Law component does not earn students an LLM or other legal qualification.
The business component consists of three modules focused on the practical and critical understanding of art markets and institutions, marketing in the art world, the auction process, and the most recent developments in art markets.
50 credits in total
Art Business 1: Art Markets and Institutions
This module is a fundamental component of the MSc, designed to provide a systematic and critical understanding of the art markets, their commercial and institutional players, and their dynamics. It also provides the methodological, practical and professional tools required to critically assess art markets, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
The first part of the module focuses on the macroeconomic analysis of art markets. It enables students to identify the dynamics of supply and demand, discuss the role of the intermediaries such as galleries, auction houses etc and tackle key issues such as market segmentation, generation of value and the pricing of artworks.
The second part of this module is designed to provide a critical understanding of the main non- commercial art players, such as museums, private foundations and corporate collections and their interaction with art markets. In particular, this part of the module examines critically the processes of constructing value and validating artworks and cultural artefacts in different institutional contexts.
Art Business 2: Auctioneering and Art Marketing
This module brings together theory and practice, academic analysis and direct professional practice.It develops both a practical and critical understanding of the process of preparing for an auction, from the point of consignment through to the management of the event itself, focusing on the role of the catalogue.
A specific component of this module is dedicated to the understanding of marketing theories and tools and their implementation in an art context.
Art Business 3: Art Market Developments
This module fosters creative application of theoretical knowledge of art markets and synthesis of academic, practical and professional experience gained within diverse art world contexts. It is designed to present and discuss the latest dynamics in the art markets, providing a critical understanding of the role played by external factors in determining changes in the art market, with particular reference to art as an investment vehicle, the introduction of IT technologies in the art market, and the emergence of new markets.
The lecture and seminar component is complemented by interactions with professionals from the financial world and Christie’s auction house, as well as international study visits to emerging markets.
60 credits in total
Single Object Catalogue
This project is designed to bring together elements from the three disciplines of the programme. This element builds on the range of academic and practical skills gained through the year.
The Single Object Catalogue provides a critical understanding of how an auction house builds a consignment proposal. It also advances the professional model with more academic and critical evaluation. Students will work autonomously to research and identify a commercially viable artwork or cultural artefact as the topic of their catalogue. The project incorporates an overview and critical analysis of a wide range of auction house processes and practices to give students the skills to evaluate the object from different perspectives: economic evaluation, selling strategy, critical art historical and contextual analysis, and legal assessment.
The final module requires students to synthesise critical, practical and professional knowledge and understanding obtained in the programme and to demonstrate advanced knowledge of the art market. Students will work independently to formulate, research, and write a report reflecting new thought or innovation relevant to the global art world.
This research report is underpinned by the direct professional experience of the integrated internship.
The Work Placement offers students an excellent opportunity to commence an art world career by taking up a position with companies and institutions both in the UK and overseas, for up to 12 weeks, towards the end of the programme.
Destinations might include a department at Christie’s auction house, a museum, gallery, auction house, archive, foundation or other appropriate arts-related organisation. It is designed to give new practical and professional experience while building upon the knowledge and skills already developed during the programme. The work placement also feeds into the research report as it provides crucial insight into the dynamics of the art market.
Students are expected to demonstrate professional behaviour over the course of the taught programme to prepare and qualify for this placement.