Semester of Graduation

Summer 2022


Master of Arts (MA)


Art History

Document Type



Ever since the nineteenth century, the art market and the press have existed in a symbiotic relationship. Famously, Cynthia and Harrison White coined in the late 1960s the expression of the dealer-critic system to describe how the French press and the market for Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art were interrelated. Despite this dynamism, the mechanisms of art market reporting in the mainstream newspaper are still rarely explored in the academic world. This thesis investigates the evolution of art market reporting through the lens of The New York Times. First, I collected 1346 articles through a systematic search to retrace the evolution of art market reporting in America. To visualize the data obtained from the articles in The New York Times, I selected a set of key word strings relevant to art market reporting from 1851 to 1900. To characterize the frequency of these words over the years, I have employed linear regression analysis with the aim to show a relationship between the frequency of the words and a timeline of years. In my analysis, I have assigned years (1851-1900) pertaining to my research as the independent variable and the frequency of the word strings as the dependent variable. The outcome of this analysis provides decisive evidence for the growing importance of the art market in the press during the second half of the nineteenth century. To delve deeper into the more subtle changes in the manner in which art market news stories were reported, I have also added a discussion of four significant events of the art market that impacted the NYT’s art market reporting content and its style. The research in this thesis shows how gradually the public curiosity about the art market grew and how, over time, art market reporters have developed multiple strategies to catch the attention of the readers from different social backgrounds in society.



Committee Chair

Spieth, Darius A.



Available for download on Tuesday, July 10, 2029