The paper presents the issue of international trade in art from system theory perspective, that is, viewed as a system functioning in an environment. In this approach, countries have been treated as components of system, with relationships of diverse character existing between them, e.g. transfers of works of art, export and import of art. The paper presents ways by which countries are connected in terms of art flows, while differentiating market from non-market sphere. The aim of the paper is to identify factors influencing international trade in art in the light of assumed system concept. Among internal factors (related to system components – countries), influencing international trade in art, the following have been mentioned: wealth of a country, its economic situation, stock of works of art available in a country, internal art market, demographic features, number and structure of population, including the figure of population with high level of income, number of living artists and status of artist, state interventionism and others. Considering system relationships existing between countries, the focus has been on the existence of geographical distance, linguistic distance (common language, belonging to the same language group), cultural distance (common history, cultural differences, colonial connections), and institutional distance (transnational corporations mediating in art trade, presence or lack of auction institutions, locations of branch offices and agencies of auction houses). Furthermore, the different kinds of barriers to international trade in art have been presented: political barriers, legal barriers, economic barriers, cultural barriers, institutional barriers, and distance between countries – partners of foreign exchange..
Keywords: art, trade, international trade, trade barriers, art trade, art market, international trade determinants, system approach