Date of Award


First Advisor

Joan DelPlato

Second Advisor

Tai Young-Taft


Within recent years the trading of art has grown not only to entice art enthusiasts, but financial investors as well. A surge of capital flowing within the market has allowed for the opportunity to understand the similarities between the art market and the many other financial markets. Investors, both financially driven and art collection driven, fall to the same traps of believing and trusting narratives that stain and discolor the information typically collected to make the best possible investments. What separates the art market from most others is the role that auction houses are able to play in creating those narratives. Over the years auction houses have been able to fine tune tactics of manipulation to persuade bidders to make higher bids. This form of orchestration is widely used amongst the duopoly auction houses, Christie’s and Sotheby’s. These tactics are shockingly impactful and successful. A recent success, from the point of view of the auction house, was the sale of the Salvator Mundi painting in the fall of 2017, which sold for far more than the art market would have predicted.

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