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Collectors or Resellers: Here's How Art Patronage Works

Meet the money that moves the art world.

In the third installment of their ongoing series, The Art Market (in Four Parts), Artsy investigates the history and influence of art patrons. Patronage has existed for centuries: artists have long sought the funding and financial support of kings, popes and leaders of industry to facilitate the elaborate projects, like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the Mona Lisa, and innumerable watercolor portraits of world leaders and prominent figures. But art patronage has survived and thrived in the modern era, as well.

The short documentary reveals the tension and conflict that arises between artist and patron when it becomes clear to the former that the latter might be flipping the fruits of the artist’s labors for financial and/or social gain. Andy Warhol’s first and foremost patron, Robert Scull, is even quoted as saying: “It’s all true—I’d rather use art to climb than anything else.” The short doc also features some of the contemporary art market’s heavyweights, including Eli Broad, Maja Hoffmann, Josh Baer, and Sarah Thornton.

Explore the relationship between creativity and business in the video above and if it piques your interest, make sure to check out the previous instalments here and here. Stay tuned for the fourth and final chapter on Art Fairs, airing June 13.

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