Sotheby's Institute of Art

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Sotheby's Institute of Art
Sotheby's Institute of Art in Bedford Square, London

Sotheby's Institute of Art is a private, for-profit institution of higher education devoted to the study of art and its markets with campuses in London, New York City and online. The institute offers full-time accredited master's degrees as well as a range of postgraduate certificates, summer, semester and online courses, public programmes, and executive education. It is a subsidiary of Sotheby's fine art dealers.


Originally conceived as a training program for connoisseurship by Sotheby's auction house in 1969, Sotheby's Institute of Art aims to provide students with education on the business of art while exploring both the scholarly and practical sides of the art world.

In 1995, Sotheby's Institute of Art – London was granted the status of an Affiliated Institution of the University of Manchester's Department of Art History and Archaeology.[1] At the end of 2002, Sotheby's sold its Institute to a US-based information and educational services firm, Cambridge Information Group (CIG), which retains the Sotheby's name.[2] Sotheby's Institute continues to have strong links with Sotheby's auction house, having members on the Sotheby's Institute of Art – London advisory board[3] and students having access to internships, auctions and exhibitions at Sotheby's.[4]

In September 2006, the Institute broadened its course offerings in New York and in 2010 the New York Institute received degree-granting authority from the Regents of the State of New York.[5] It has been an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design since 1989. Between 2013-2019 Sotheby's Institute in partnership with the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University, established a new master's degree in Art Business.[6] Jonathan T.D. Neil was the Director of the Los Angeles campus. The Institute also began offering courses in mainland China in 2013[7] and in March 2014 announced a partnership with Tsinghua University to offer a six-week international field study programme with a professional certificate.[8]


The Institute runs full-time master's degree programs in Art Business, Contemporary Art, Fine and Decorative Art, East Asian Art and Contemporary Design. In the summer, the Institute offers two week and month long certificate programs in topics ranging from curation to art evaluation and provenance research.

At the London campus, master's degrees are awarded by the University of Manchester[9] a Russell Group university. In New York, master's degrees are granted through the Regents of the State of New York and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.[10]


Sotheby's Institute London is situated in Bedford Square, Bloomsbury (51°31′07″N 0°07′52″W / 51.51869°N 0.13116°W / 51.51869; -0.13116 (Sotheby's Institute of Art, London campus)), a well-preserved Georgian square with a private central garden, built between 1775 and 1783. The New York campus is located in the Art Deco landmark, the General Electric Building in midtown Manhattan (40°45′25″N 73°58′21″W / 40.7570°N 73.9724°W / 40.7570; -73.9724 (Sotheby's Institute of Art, New York campus)).


The libraries on the London and New York campuses collectively contain more than 3 million volumes, 350 databases, 70 print subscriptions, and 126 serials—all of which are academic in nature and related to art and the art market.[11]

Relationship with Sotheby's auction house[edit]

Sotheby's Institute of Art was founded by Sotheby's auction house in London in 1969. Initially, the Institute served as a training program for auction house employees and provided lessons in connoisseurship. Auction house experts and professionals often serve as Sotheby's Institute of Art faculty and guest speakers.[12]

The Kiddell Collection[13] (also known as "The Black Museum") is an accumulation of fakes, forgeries, and reproductions, built up over a number of decades by Sotheby's Auction House former Director, Jim Kiddell. It is now on permanent loan to Sotheby's Institute of Art in London. Originally formed as a pedagogical handling tool for auction house specialists, the Collection today continues to support student enquiry. The Kiddell Collection is emblematic for the kind of in-situ access students have during their studies.


  1. ^ ""Degrees on Offer at Sotheby's", Times Higher Education, 13/11/1995".
  2. ^ "Cambridge Information Group". Archived from the original on 1 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Sotheby's Institute Academic Leadership News". Archived from the original on 2 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Sotheby's Trainee Auctioneer Day".
  5. ^ "Regents of the State of New York".
  6. ^ "Claremont Graduate University Office of Communications".
  7. ^ "Sotheby's Institute of Art Beefs Up Its Offerings in China, Blouin Artinfo, 16/08/13". Blouin Artinfo. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Sotheby's Institute of Art to Partner with Tsinghua University". Artnet. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  9. ^ "University of Manchester Art History Programmes". University of Manchester. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012.
  10. ^ "National Association of Schools of Art and Design". Archived from the original on 2 February 2014.
  11. ^ "Spotlight on Libraries".
  12. ^ "Our Faculty | Sotheby's Institute of Art". Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  13. ^ "The Misunderstood Objects of The Kiddell Collection". Retrieved 7 August 2018.

External links[edit]