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History for Sale: The International Art Market and the Nation State

  • Venus Bivar (a1)

In April of 2003 the collection of André Breton, one of the founders of Surrealism, was auctioned off at the Hôtel Druout in Paris. This article focuses on how the sale sparked a heated debate about the French state's role as the protector of French cultural patrimony and looks at the different interests involved, from Breton's daughter, who authorised the sale, to the Minister of Culture. Ultimately, the author argues that the state allowed the sale to occur, despite popular protest, in order to improve France's position in the global art market.

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Merryman, John Henry. “Cultural Property Internationalism.” International Journal of Cultural Property 12 (2005): 29, 32.

Nora, Pierre. “Between Memory and History: les lieux de mémoire.” Representations 26 (Spring 1989): 724.

Wall, Cynthia. “The English Auction: Narratives of Dismantlings.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 31.1 (1997): 125.

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International Journal of Cultural Property
  • ISSN: 0940-7391
  • EISSN: 1465-7317
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-cultural-property
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