Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jonathan Petropoulos

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Jonathan R Grigull


This thesis examines the history of art investment over time. Through analysis of art investment funds and works of economic analysis on art during three periods: pre-1914, 1960-1980, and 1980 until 2022, this project aims to show the steps that were critical in forming art investment firms as they exist today. This analysis finds that in order for the first instance of art investment to occur the secondary art market needed a means to ensure authenticity in the art they sold and auctions houses needed to become more professional institutions. After Bearskin Group in 1914, investment in art lost lost momentum. That is until two pieces of media, The Economics and Taste and the Times-Sotheby index, applied rudimentary financial analysis to the art market, furthering the similarities between art and traditional asset classes, and inspiring the 1970 decade of art investment funds. This project concludes with a historiographical account on the economic studies on art after 1970, followed by summarizing the state 21st Century art investment funds.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.