Business models of contemporary art galleries and art fair influence: A thematic synthesis of the literature

May 21, 2023
Peer-reviewed publication
May 21, 2023
Peer-reviewed publication

Art galleries have traditionally played a pivotal role in the contemporary art system, divided between cultural and commercial goals, which are not necessarily compatible. In recent times this has been further challenged by the emergence of art fairs.

In this paper, we consider the construct of the business model and how it has more or less explicitly applied to art galleries and their relation to art fairs through a semi-systematic review of the literature with a method of thematic synthesis.

From an initial body of 642 retrieved sources, our analysis selected and assessed 24 final references. Major themes that emerged encompass business model typologies, value creation, resources, partners network, customers, decision-making, organizational structure, internationalization, normative framework, risk and vulnerability, and the emerging online market, accounting for a quite articulated business model of art galleries.

The paper is co-authored by Giuliano Picchi and Elisabetta Lazzaro, and published in the International Journal of Arts Management (IJAM) Winter 2023.

The article was recognized with the Editor’s Choice award for the journal’s Issue.

View the article at the publisher’s website →

Giuliano Picchi is a cultural manager, creative economy specialist, researcher, author, and founder, driven by the belief that the arts and culture are main forces of change and growth at a global level.


To contribute as a global, active citizen to the development, growth, and progress of our societies.