Sotheby’s auction house was founded in 1744 when Samuel Baker, an entrepreneur, occasional publisher, and successful businessman held his first auction. Today at Sotheby’s Institute, we emphasize a keen understanding of an object’s value and history, a spirit of inquiry and scholarship, business acumen, and innovation that build upon these foundational values.
The Institute offers educational programs for professionals, pre-college audiences, and graduate students seeking expertise in art business and an understanding of the $60 billion global art economy. Our course offerings cover everything from art history to key business skills from our campuses located in the world’s art capitals of London and New York, as well as online.
Since its founding in 1969, Sotheby’s Institute has built an extensive global network of diverse individuals, which grows with every class. Each year, over 2,500 students study with Sotheby’s Institute and go on to work and network, across every sector of the art world. The Master’s degree alone has over 8,000 alumni — the largest and most powerful alumni network of its kind.
From field study trips to behind-the-scenes visits and expert-led instruction – a Sotheby’s Institute experience includes a unique, firsthand study of the art world, making sure that students are well equipped with a depth of understanding, art historical scholarship, and business acumen relevant to today’s art world.
Settled in the heart of Bloomsbury, Sotheby’s Institute-London is part of Bedford Square, one of the best-preserved Georgian squares in London. A private central garden lies at the heart of the square, and is accessible to Institute students through a private key. Sotheby’s auction house, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Royal Academy of Arts are a few minutes’ walk away. The Institute is also close to Mayfair, the traditional center of the London art market, where many dealers and galleries are located.
Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York is based in one of the most vibrant global art cities with thousands of auction houses, blue chip and emerging galleries, world class museums, art fairs, artists’ studios, private collections, art technology companies, and arts foundations and nonprofits. It is also the largest art market in the world, accounting for the majority of all art market sales internationally and the home of Wall Street—the financial hub of the world. New York City attracts top faculty, leading art market professionals, established and emerging artists, and experts from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds.
Graduates and current students have access to a powerful worldwide network of over 8,000 alumni. Our close relationship with Sotheby’s auction house connects students to specialists, dynamic internship opportunities, and behind-the-scenes access. But there is so much more.
Our alumni and employer network extend into all areas of a multi-faceted and international ecosystem, from connoisseurs of ancient artifacts to innovators in technology. Our mission is to educate art world leaders to be stewards of culture. As we take inspiration from the last 50 years of accomplishments within our community, we eagerly await how our students, alumni, and faculty will make their mark on the next 50.
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