Art History Professor Darius Spieth Co-Organizes Art, Mind and Markets Conference at Yale

The International Center for Finance at Yale University will host a conference on the subject of “Art, Mind and Markets,” March 27–29, 2014. Upon invitation by the director of the center, Professor William Goetzmann of the Yale School of Management, the event will be co-organized by LSU Art History Professor Darius Spieth; Professor George Newman, also from the Yale School of Management; and Professor Christophe Spaenjers from the HEC School of Management, Paris.

The conference takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding art and the market for aesthetic experience. It will include papers in the field of psychology, sociology, art history, economics, marketing, and finance. Session topics include psychology, neuroscience, and behavior; artists, collectors, and the sociology and history of collecting; empirical art market research; and art markets and their role in culture. The conference will also feature public panels with major artists and critics, whose work or writing address the relationship between art and mind and art and markets.

A leading specialist in the structures and history of the art market, Professor Spieth will present his latest research, both quantitative and historical, on the impact of the French Revolution on the price development of Netherlandish art in Paris. Spieth will also chair a session on the history of collecting and taste and moderate two panels addressing issues in the contemporary art market. These public panels will bring together prominent figures in the field, such as Jeffrey Deitch (art advisor), Noah Horowitz (faculty of Sotheby’s Institute of Art and executive director of the Armory Show), Graham Beal (director of the Detroit Institute of Arts), Carrie Mae Weems (artist), Andrea Fraser (artist and professor at UCLA), and Robert Storr (dean of Yale University Art School).

Spieth’s previous publications in the field of art market economics include a study answering the question, “How Did Japanese Investments Influence Art Prices?”, which appeared in the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, one of the top-ranked periodicals in the field. The study provides statistical proof of how Japanese art collectors’ preference for French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings during the late 1980s inflated art prices globally and laid the groundwork for the depression of the market through most of the 1990s. Spieth also contributed a chapter dealing with “The French Context of Het groote tafereel der dwaasheid: John Law, Rococo Culture, and the Riches of the New World” to a multiple-author volume entitled The Great Mirror of Folly: Finance, Culture, and the Bubbles of 1720 (Yale University Press, 2013). The essay deals with Rococo imagery in the context of Dutch satirical prints created in the wake of the first stock market bubble and crash in Europe, triggered by the speculative schemes of John Law’s Mississippi Company. Spieth’s current book project explores Netherlandish Golden Age Art in Revolutionary Paris: A History of Old Masters, Finance, and the Rise of the Bourgeoisie. It studies the dominance of Netherlandish 17th-century artworks in the aesthetic discourse and sales transactions before, during, and after the French Revolution. By synthesizing a historical narrative with statistical research, Spieth’s findings afford a larger socio-economic view of how the rise of the bourgeoisie reshaped aesthetic preferences and art prices at the turn of the 19th century.

The logo for the “Art, Mind and Markets” conference at Yale was designed by LSU students organized in the GDSO (Graphic Design Student Organization). Its theme was inspired by newly installed artworks by Sol LeWitt in the Yale School of Management’s Edward P. Evans Hall.

For more information about the “Art, Mind and Markets” conference, visit

Spieth_DariusAbout Darius A. Spieth
Darius A. Spieth is an associate professor of art history at the LSU School of Art. Prior to joining the art history faculty at LSU in 2003, Spieth served as Philip and Lynn Straus Curatorial Fellow at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University and worked for a commercial gallery dealing in Russian avant-garde art domiciled in Cologne, Germany, and Zug, Switzerland. A specialist in early modernism, Spieth focuses his scholarship on the interrelationships between art, intellectual history, and economics. Supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, Spieth’s current research investigates art, auctions, and public spectacle in 19th-century Paris.

About LSU School of Art
The LSU School of Art combines the best of both worlds: the resources and faculty of a large liberal arts institution and the personal attention that comes in a close-knit community. Students in the School of Art develop specialized skills while experimenting with various mediums, exploring their own creative intuition, and studying art history and contemporary art theory. Education comes from intensive critiques, working studio classes, dedicated professors, and engagement with the larger arts community through a curriculum that combines academic teaching and hands-on experiences, both on and off campus. For more information, visit