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Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Arts

“Anna Dempster has brought the classical economic perspective on risk and uncertainty to the art market in this unique and valuable collection of essays.” Orley Ashenfelter, Joseph Douglas Green 1895 Professor of Economics, Princeton University

“Risk and Uncertainty in the Art World paints in vivid detail the amazing art market landscape. It is a must read for art collectors and investors.” Jianping Mei, Professor of Finance, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business; Founder of the Mei Moses® Fine Art Index

“As the art market is transformed by new types of participant and technology, assessment of risk in the art world remains undeveloped. Anna Dempster performs a valuable service bringing together expert, thought-provoking views on this emerging subject area.” Nicholas Dunbar, author of The Devil’s Derivatives

Professor Frank Fabozzi, EDHEC Business School and Editor, Journal of Portfolio Management

Cover image © Guido Mieth/Getty


“This timely collection of essays illustrates the multitude of uncertainties that pervade the art world. Like the financial markets, art markets are widely varied and have a long and venerable history. This fascinating volume shows that the two markets have much in common and can learn from each other. For the uninitiated, the book provides a unique and informative view into the mechanics and peculiarities of a little understood world. For practitioners of any background, including finance, it clearly demonstrates that there is much to learn from the art world about coping with uncertainty and managing risk.”


Anna M. Dempster is Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London where she leads the Art Business and Research Methods units including strategic management, finance and entrepreneurship - all specially tailored for the art world. She holds a BA and MPhil in History from the University of Cambridge and a PhD from the Judge Business School, Cambridge. She has research and teaching experience in London Business School, Rotterdam School of Management and the University of the Arts, London, where she was Research Director of the Creative Industries Observatory, a government funded project supporting creative organizations in the UK, India and China. She regularly works with artists and has a long standing interest in Russian art. Prior to joining Sotheby’s Institute she held a Lectureship at Birkbeck College, University of London, where she was founding Programme Director of the MSc/MA in Creative Industries. Her current research focuses on the creative industries and visual arts and she is fascinated with the role of risk and uncertainty as represented in this volume.


“With the rise of a global market and its increasing use as a vehicle for investment, it is not surprising that the sale of art is the subject of an increasingly sophisticated secondary literature. Risk and Uncertainty in the Art World is an admirably comprehensive set of essays analysing all aspects of the operation of the contemporary art market from different intellectual perspectives.”



Not since the Dutch golden age has art been such big business; the art market has become increasingly accessible and continues to grow. But with this growth comes new forms of uncertainty, volatility and risk for the art world and its participants. Alongside century-old ways of doing things, the art world has recently witnessed the emergence of new consumers, new business models and new modes of production. Risk and Uncertainty in the Art World offers the first complete overview of risk in the art market: its sources, consequences, participants, structures and dynamics. Compiled and edited by Anna M. Dempster, this book includes chapters written by leading international practitioners and scholars in the fields of art, business and economics. These contributors investigate the specific types of uncertainty that exist in the art market, as well as the dominant models used to manage the risks, offering a snapshot of some of the most exciting developments both in the world of art and in research in risk and uncertainty. Essential reading for art world practitioners as well as scholars and students, Risk and Uncertainty in the Art World illustrates the dynamics and unique qualities of the art market as well as developing insights relevant to other sectors, including sociology, business and management, economics and finance.

Risk and Uncertainty in the Art World  

Read an extract of Risk and Uncertainty in the Art World, ed. Anna M. Dempster, out Spring 2014 from Bloomsbury Publishing.

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