Art Business

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the international art market and discover first-hand how art is created and traded, both in person and online.


This online course will provide an insider’s look at the vibrant contemporary art market through an examination of the market’s key players and institutions including galleries, auction houses, and artists’ studios. In a dynamic virtual environment that balances a variety of expert-led live sessions with self-guided modules, students will gain an understanding of both primary and secondary art markets and the newest digital art commerce developments. Students will learn about how the international art trade operates. In an interactive online setting, students will have direct engagement with prominent artists, gallerists, and auctioneers, identifying the key personalities and most influential venues that contribute to the rich, varied dialogue around contemporary art and its trade. This class will also address the relationships between the marketplace and the not-for-profit sector with a special focus on museums through virtual tours with curators of renowned art collections worldwide. The course is ideal for students who love looking at art or are creating art themselves and are interested in turning this passion into their life’s work.


Virtual site visits may include:

  • Behind the scenes at Sotheby’s auction house
  • Online viewing rooms of top international galleries, such as David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth
  • Virtual tours of global museums, such as The Centre Pompidou in Paris
  • Virtual tours of art neighborhoods, such as East London with its many art galleries
  • Virtual tours of art foundations, such as the Prada Foundation in Milan
  • Artists’ studios


Guest speakers may include:

  • Gallery directors
  • Auction house experts and world-famous auctioneers
  • Online art sales entrepreneurs
  • Online art world marketing and communications specialists
  • Collection managers
  • Artists


Projects may include:

  • Curating your own (virtual) international art fair
  • Developing an art business marketing and branding strategy
  • Touring interactive virtual museums worldwide, such as the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles
  • Using a hypothetical budget of five million US dollars, go on a virtual art shopping spree at international galleries, and present the works with research on your favorite artists and their markets
  • Researching financial data and funding models for art businesses worldwide


Tech Fee: $75


Please note: This information is subject to change at any time at the discretion of Sotheby’s Institute of Art

Term Dates

Term dates and course availability depend heavily on instructors’ schedules.

  • Term 4 July 19 to July 30 Term Closed

All courses are open to rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors. Explore the full online summer schedule.

View Summer Schedule

What is an Intensive?

Intensives immerse students in a single subject area for the entire two-week Institute term, with the goal of cultivating comprehensive knowledge of that discipline. This thorough approach to learning enables students to develop deeper insights about the field by closely investigating its inner workings.

Course Highlights

Summer Institute enables students to dive deep into a course of study, sharpening skills for their academic and professional careers. Each course is carefully designed to suit student interests and encourage intellectual curiosity.

  • 1

    Students will virtually experience collectors’ homes, artists’ studios, and galleries. Such online tours may include a peek behind the scenes at Sotheby’s auction house, a virtual tour of a private collection in a collector’s home, or a virtual visit to the Guggenheim Museum with a curator.

  • 2

    Students will hear firsthand about the inner workings of the art industry from speakers that will include auctioneers, gallerists, art fair directors, and online art sales entrepreneurs. On virtual visits to galleries, students will get to hear from gallery owners about the day-to-day dealing with artists and collectors.

  • 3

    The course is ideal for students who love looking at art or creating art themselves and are interested in turning this passion into their life’s work. Students will learn how to identify steps to prepare for a career in the ever-evolving art industry, both in traditional institutions and new frontiers of online art markets.

  • 4

    Students will examine the art world cycle from art production to the various art market outlets using the newest technologies, and explore future opportunities for art world innovation, such as blockchain and online auction platforms.

Summer Institute Faculty

Our instructors are award-winning Sotheby's Institute faculty, recognized thought leaders and professional experts in the art world. Each faculty member structures their course around real-time conversations defining their professions and helps students master the unique forces at play in the art world.

Summer Institute Faculty

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