Professional associations bringing modern and contemporary art dealers together—Comité professionnel des galeries d’art (1947) and the Art Dealers Association of America (1962)—were created after the Second World War in the two world capitals of art, Paris and New York. Their archives reflect the intense debates that shook the profession on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean on issues such as international competition and acknowledgement of the role played by the market in the art world. These associations, representative of the most ambitious galleries, specialized in lobbying art and political authorities while reconsidering the norms and business ethics of the art dealing profession. They were less effective, however, in their codification of trade relations between gallery owners and artists. The history of these collective intermediary structures constitutes a novel approach to the artistic rivalry between Paris and New York, and shows the models for the various art dealers’ associations created in the Western and then non-Western world after the 1970s.
By Julie Verlaine