Q. What brought you to Christie’s Education?
I had studied law and art history in Germany and had worked as a lawyer for a time in Hamburg but I had been trying to find a way to combine law and art and that’s what led me to Christie’s Education. I had heard about the new Master’s in Art, Law and Business being launched and this combination really spoke to me. After a year of looking and thinking about the programme I decided to apply!
Q. What aspects of Christie’s Education did you enjoy the most?
I enjoyed working with the fantastic guest lecturers on the programme, it was a very practical and hands on approach to learning about the art world. Having worked for a time already, I did not want a purely academic programme but wanted the opportunity to hear from professionals who were experts in their fields. Besides that I really enjoyed the atmosphere of pretty small student group from various backgrounds. Seeing how people from different backgrounds approach different things such as curating an auction or a legal dispute, and coming at these from different angles and perspectives gave me a very rich way of looking at things.
Q. What does your day to day role entail?
A typical day… well I really don’t have a typical day but usually during auction season, my job consists of checking artworks that have been offered for sale to make sure they do not have a problematic past with regards to the Second World War; that they were not looted by the Nazis or they were not stolen afterwards. My job is to identify the works that have a potential issue, conduct deeper research into their past to either clear them for sale or if there is a problem to negotiate a settlement between the parties – usually the Jewish victims and the consignor of the works. So there is a lot of research day to day and sensitive negotiation.
Q. What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
Identifying an artwork that has been looted by the Nazis and being able to tell a family, who had lost usually almost everything during the War, that we’ve found something that belonged to them and then to see that being resolved is very rewarding. It might not result in that artwork being returned to the family but quite often a settlement is agreed; the work is sold and the family gets the proceeds and more importantly the recognition that this work was previously in their collection and this now becomes part of its provenance.
Q. What do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from a very special woman called Rose Valland who was a key French member of the Monuments Men. She worked for museums in France during the Nazi occupation and inventoried clandestinely artworks that the Nazis were collecting at the Jeu de Paume in Paris and sending off to Germany. It was through her inventory and markings on artworks that the Monuments Men were able to tell which works had been taken from France and from whom. Rose is such a big influence on my day to day work.
The detail, scope and management of professional development programmes and events are highly effective and clearly focus on supporting student employability… The professional development programme is extensive, organised and culminates in one-to-one interviews with a Christie’s HR Recruitment Officer.
The MSc programme provided a great overview of the current developments in the commercial art sector, as well as an overview of art since 1900. The law component was very interesting and the study trips to Sydney, Istanbul and many international art fairs provided an overview of the artists and institutions in the region.
MSc Art, Law and Business