Art world economics is a relatively unexplored area of financial exchange that exists at the edges of the regular financial industry. Investment in art has been an accepted form of deposit investment for several decades such as the purchase of works by Matisse, Van Gogh and Picasso. However these works only have an assured value as long as there is a restricted supply of works on the open market - i.e. the artist is dead or producing small numbers of works and that the authenticity of works can be verified by a small number of sources. In the case of contemporary artists it is the interest of collectors and therefore dealers to ensure a tightly controlled line of supply.
The intricacies of art world economics were exposed by the suit of the family of Mark Rothko against the Marlborough Fine Art Gallery brought during the 1970s. In an action known as the Rothko Case, it was determined that Marlborough had knowingly manipulated their management of Rothko's works to maintain a higher sale price after his death, to the detriment of Rothko's family's interest in his estate.