The Periphery Is Beautiful: The Rise of the Portuguese Contemporary Art Market in the 21st Century

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The aim of this article is to characterise the rise of the Portuguese contemporary art market since the beginning of the 21st century, within the broader context of the global contemporary art market. Against a theoretical backdrop of the globalisation of markets for contemporary art and the concept of the periphery, I will analyse Lisbon’s art scene as a local phenomenon that is looking for an international recognition. In doing so, I am focusing on two working hypotheses. The first relates to the efforts made by the gallery sector to raise the international profile of its artists, giving them sought-after widespread recognition, which encompasses a historical perspective on the situation and a prominent role for the younger generation of gallerists. The second intends to observe the role played by private collectors and their contributions towards boosting the art scene, assembling their contemporary art collections and making them available to the public. I conclude that this has led to an upsurge in the contemporary art market in connection with the growing number of validating structures, museums, and art centres, due mainly to the fact that the shortcomings of the public sector are being made up for by private initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2020


  • contemporary art collectors
  • periphery
  • contemporary art market


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