There is a substantial literature on eye tracking.
Skill acquisition example
One study that I am familiar with and is of some relevance is Study 2 in Lee and Anderson (2000, PDF).
Specifically the study used eye tracking tools to examine how visual attention was allocated over time on an air traffic control simulator.
The broad finding, consistent with skill acquisition theory was that:
Overall, as people become more skilled, they appear to be reducing the
time they ﬁxate on all the task-irrelevant regions while maintaining
the amount of time spent on the task-relevant regions in the move
Thus, this study shows that at least on a task, as you would expect visual attention changes as a function of the development of expertise.
A specific study of eye movements comparing experts and novices
It seems obvious that when visually examining art, people differ in how they view it. It also seems plausible that experts viewing art may focus on different things to novices. After a little searching I found a study by Vogt and Magnussen (2007) that appears to directly address your interest:
In two sessions with free scanning and memory instructions,
eye-movement patterns from nine artists were compared with those of
nine artistically untrained participants viewing 16 pictures
representing a selection of categories from ordinary scenes to
abstraction: 12 pictures were made to accommodate an object-oriented
viewing mode (selection of recognisable objects), and a pictorial
viewing mode (selection of more structural features), and 4 were
abstract. The artistically untrained participants showed preference
for viewing human features and objects, while the artists spent more
scanning time on structural/abstract features. A group by session
interaction showed a change of viewing strategy in the artists, who
viewed more objects and human features in the memory task session. A
verbal test of recall memory showed no overall difference in the
number of pictures remembered, but the number of correctly remembered
pictorial features was significantly higher for artists than for the
artistically untrained viewers, irrespective of picture type. No
differences in fixation frequencies/durations were found between
groups across sessions, but a significant task-dependent-group by
session interaction of fixation frequency/duration showed that the
artistically untrained participants demonstrated repetition effects in
fewer, longer fixations with repeated viewing, while the opposite
pattern obtained for the artists.
They also summarise existing research (see the article for more information):
Picture perception in artists and laymen has been compared in several
studies on the assumption that artists view the world differently from
others. ... In one 12-s recording session, Nodine et al (1993)
found that artistically untrained viewers tended to spend more time
viewing individual objects than relationships among elements in
paintings... Other authors have reported different eye-fixation patterns in artists and
non-artists viewing pictures. Antes and Kristjanson (1991) found that
eye-movement parameters alone could differentiate artists from
non-artists by fixation densities on less important aspects of
paintings, with 'important' being defined a priori by one professional
artist (rather than by the experimenters according to hypotheses).
Zangemeister et al (1995) found that artists and sophisticated viewers
used a more global scanning strategy than artistically untrained
participants when viewing abstract pictures.
- Antes J R, Kristjanson A F, 1991. Discriminating artists from nonartists by their eye movement patterns. Perceptual and Motor Skills 73 893 ^ 894
- Lee, F.J. & Anderson, J.R. (2001). Does learning a complex task have to be complex?: A study in learning decomposition. Cognitive psychology, 42, 267-316. PDF
- Nodine F, Locher P J, Krupinski E A, 1993. The role of formal art training on perception and aesthetic judgement of art compositions. Leonardo 26 219 ^ 227
- Vogt, S. & Magnussen, S. (2007). Expertise in pictorial perception: eye-movement patterns and visual memory in artists and laymen. PERCEPTION-LONDON-, 36, 91. PDF
- Zangemeister W H, Sherman K, Stark L, 1995 Evidence for a global scanpath strategy in viewing abstract compared to realistic images. Neuropsychologia 33 1009 ^ 1025