This interdisciplinary program provides an in-depth study of modern and contemporary art and the market from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day.
Led by an expert faculty, the integrated program combines study of art history with the role played by external factors in the art industry. The program explores how the art market has intersected with modern and contemporary art as art works have moved from artists to institutional and private collectors. The program puts particular focus on the development of connoisseurship skills through object-based learning in combination with the study of current art business practices and the market. Students study art works first-hand at sites of production and exhibitions throughout New York City and beyond. Additionally, access to specialists and salerooms through our central location within Christie’s auction house enhances the program and provides an unparalleled learning opportunity. The program introduces students to skills that are in demand in the current global art marketplace.
Our access to a wide range of art professionals provides students with first-hand knowledge of the workings of the art world, and the transferable skills they need to become art world professionals.
An intensive program, it takes 15 months to complete and concludes with the writing of a Master’s thesis and a mandatory 45-day internship to help students launch their professional careers.
Who Should Apply?
Students from a wide variety of fields have successfully merged their prior backgrounds with the program, launching successful careers at auction houses, galleries, non- profits, art fairs and art advisories in the global art marketplace upon graduation for over twenty years.
The Business of Art I, II, III
The class provides students with an overview of the professions and institutions as well as the economic, legal, and ethical contexts that shape and structure the art world. Guest speakers include a wide range of art world practitioners who address all aspects of the production, exhibition, and trade of cultural artifacts. The seminar consists of lectures, discussion sessions, and a wide range of reading and research assignments designed to develop professional skills that are necessary to succeed in the art world.
The Economics of Art: The fall term provides an analysis of the economics and trade of artworks. The lectures and presentations explore art as a financial tool and investment, and familiarize students with processes of valuation, including appraisal and insurance practices as well as with a detailed understanding of the auction and gallery business.
Art Law and Collection Management: The winter terms examines the legal and ethical issues of the art business and advisory and collection management practices. It covers such topics as artist-dealer relations, intellectual property and copyright infringement, art crime, restitution and cultural heritage law, and provides a comprehensive overview of how art collections are built, maintained and preserved.
Professional Practices in the Global Contemporary Art World: The spring term introduces students to diverse areas and professional fields of contemporary art by providing an in-depth study of topics that include emerging markets and curatorial practices; the management of contemporary art galleries, residency programs and not-for-profit organizations; the practice of art writing and market reportage as well as the current state of e-commerce and online sales in the art world.
2 credits per term (6 credits total)
Modern and Contemporary Art Survey I, II, III
The goal of the course is to introduce students to major movements, artists and canonical works of art from 1850 to the present in order to develop a strong base of knowledge prior to entering a professional career in the art world. This lecture series is organized chronologically and runs through the entire academic year. While the fall and winter terms primarily survey the production of modern art in Europe and the United States, the spring term addresses contemporary art in an expanded global context. The course is team-taught by Christie’s Education faculty and scholars from other institutions including universities and major museums. Visits to The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art are an integral part of the curriculum.
From Realism to Cubism: The fall term begins with the rise of Realism in Paris in the mid 19th century, and continues with French Impressionism and simultaneous developments in the United States, England and Germany. The term concludes with German Expressionism and the invention of Cubism.
From the Historical Avant-Garde to the Birth of Pop Art in Europe: The winter term picks up with the study of major movements in the early 20th century, including Russian Constructivism and Suprematism, De Stijl and Italian Futurism, and continues with artistic developments in Europe, the United States and Latin America until the period immediately after World War II.
From Pop Art to Global Contemporary Art: Beginning with American Pop Art, the spring term investigates artistic strategies of the 1960s and 70s including Minimalism and conceptual art, video and installation. A major portion of the term is devoted to contemporary art produced in a global context.
2.5 credits per term (7.5 credits total)
Connoisseurship I, II, III
This seminar develops essential connoisseurship skills through first-hand analysis of modern and contemporary art. Utilizing the Christie’s Education study collection, students learn to identify and evaluate materials, techniques, and condition issues that pertain to numerous media. This knowledge is reinforced by frequent field studies throughout the city, where art is examined in various sites of production and display, including studios, foundries, workshops, galleries, museums, private collections, and conservation facilities. The seminar helps mold students into informed and responsible custodians of art objects as they move into various professional settings.
Painting & Sculpture: The foundational fall term examines the materials and methods of painting, as well as the shifting modes of sculptural production during the modern era. Practical engagement with the study collection begins, including learning a range of evaluation techniques and condition reporting.
Works on Paper: The winter term shifts focus to works on paper, a category that encompasses photography, printmaking, drawing, and collage.
These varied processes are illuminated in the classroom, and demonstrated during field studies. Students produce additional condition reports and closely examine works on paper on assignment in museum study rooms.
Contemporary Art in Unorthodox Media: Addressing the diversity of contemporary art production, the spring term examines objecthood in the age of dematerialization, ephemerality, and post- studio fabrication, among other issues. Students consolidate their knowledge and skills in order to review contemporary exhibitions. A long-term project involves scouting and evaluating the work and promise of emerging artists.
3 credits per term (9 credits total)
Art Market Studies I, II, III
This course follows the chronology of the Modern and Contemporary Art Survey. It familiarizes students with the institutions, including auction houses, museums and galleries, which have historically played an essential role in shaping the art market for modern and contemporary art.
Students learn to identify the trends that have been with us since the late 1800s, and to contextualize the evolution of the role played by these various institutions and individuals in the development of the modern art market. Students will come to understand the development of the market as an integrated global and transnational phenomenon. Through projects such as researching the provenance of paintings and looking at how art dealers marketed modern art, the students develop their research skills by evaluating a wide range of primary and archival sources.
Lectures and in-class presentations are complemented by weekly field studies to the exhibition rooms at Christie’s where students engage directly with world-leading fine and decorative art specialists. This provides a unique insight into the inner workings of an auction house an important art market issues, such as valuation, authenticity and evolving global collecting patterns. In addition, sale walkthroughs provide a valuable opportunity to experience object-based learning. Students also participate in handling sessions which develops connoisseurship skills and expands their visual vocabulary.
The Birth of the Market for Modern Art, 1850–1900: The fall term looks at the development of an independent market for modern art in Europe and the United States. Students will learn about Paris at the end of the Salon system and London’s thriving Victorian pictures market, as well as the then burgeoning art centers of Berlin, Munich and New York. Students will investigate the mechanisms that allowed a new system to develop, such as the rise of a transnational gallery system and artist-run exhibition societies.
Modernism and the Market, 1900–1960: The winter term looks at the development of the market for Modernism and the relationship of Avant-Garde culture to collectors and institutions. Focusing on the newly created museums in New York in the 1930s and specifically on the role played by the Museum of Modern Art in the domestication of modern art for a wider public, the course investigates how art dealers continued to play an essential role in the introduction of new art. It also considers the connection between art and politics during the troubled times of the 1930s and 1940s in Europe and in the United States. This term charts the shift of the global art world from Paris to New York.
The Art World Today, 1960 to the present: The spring term will look at the different players which make up the contemporary art world today. If we consider the global art world as network of dependencies, the course maps the contemporary art ecosystem while understanding how it has developed historically since the mid-1850s. By the end of the term, students will be able to contextualize the complex and evolving relationships between artists and dealers, to understand how the power of collectors and the emergence of the art fair and biennale phenomenon are essential markers of our times.
3 credits per term (9 credits total)
Critical Perspectives I, II, III
The goal of this three-part seminar is to provide a framework for interpreting art that will serve as a foundation for students as they launch careers in the art world. Initial focus on interdisciplinary methodologies is followed by an examination of recent critical perspectives. Assignments are geared to developing research strategies, persuasive writing, presentation skills, and a critical stance. Students will read primary and secondary texts and learn to locate and evaluate print and electronic resources.
The fall term surveys transformative moments in the evolution of art history to examine its interdisciplinary nature. Readings reflect approaches through which art has been interpreted, examining how interpretation changes over time.
In the winter term, students perform primary research in critical reception and analyze discourses on canonical works of modern art. Critical perspectives germane to contemporary art are studied and applied.
Thesis Proposal Workshop
In the spring term, students work closely with a faculty advisor to develop a detailed thesis proposal in preparation for the sustained independent research and writing they will do over the summer.
3 credits per fall and winter terms,
1.5 credits per spring term (7.5 credits total)
The thesis is the final independent project that allows students to apply their skills and develop their voice through researching and writing on a topic of their own selection in modern and contemporary art. Students utilize entry points and methodologies that they have mastered during their coursework, including formal analysis, critical reception, and issues in connoisseurship, and research skills to identify primary and secondary sources. Students are encouraged to incorporate issues related to the history of the art market, including collecting and art patronage, and create topics that reflect an interdisciplinary approach.
Master’s students have full-time internships for 45 days in September, October and November after the completion of their coursework. Students secure internships in a wide range of sites including Christie’s auction house, commercial galleries, not-for-profit art institutions and art advisories.
The 45-day internships are vital in providing access and networks for our students and are of significant benefit to their future careers and for which students have received appropriate training through their coursework. In addition, Christie’s Education selects one qualified student each year to intern with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy.
All M.A. students participate in a study trip at the end of the spring term to a major city in the art world, such as Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Miami or Paris. Field studies and lectures afford the opportunity to learn the structure of a broader sphere, and enable students to keep pace with a fast moving art world.
In preparation for careers in the art world, students will:
TOEFL and GRE EXAMS
Applicants to the Christie’s Education M.A. programs must be proficient in English. Applicants whose native language is not English or who are graduates of non-English speaking colleges and universities must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is optional. Students are encouraged to submit GRE scores if they believe the scores are an accurate representation of their academic ability.
The TOEFL and GRE test takers must have their scores forwarded to Christie’s Education by Education Testing Services (ETS) which administers these exams. They must enter the Christie’s Education code 9394, on the TOEFL and GRE Score Report Request Form.
For information on these exams, contact ETS at +1 609 921 9000 or consult www.ets.org.
Tuition and fees cover most educational and administrative expenses, including but not limited to orientation programs, out of town field trips, cultural institutional visits, admittance to selected museums nationwide (most major New York City museums) and access to art work in the Christie’s Education Study Collection.
The library and media fee includes but is not limited to the access to electronic research resources, computer work stations, internet access, subscriptions to major art and art-related periodicals and a comprehensive collection of auction catalogues.
The student registration and services fee includes term registration, administrative costs while students are completing their coursework and lifetime membership to the Christie’s Education Alumni Association.
Due one month after acceptance
Fall Term Tuition Payment
Library and Media Fee
Student Registration and Services Fee
F-1 International Student Services Fee
Due August 12, 2019
Winter Term Tuition Payment
Due December 3, 2019
Spring Term Tuition Payment
Due March 4, 2020
Fall 2 Tuition Payment
Due August 10, 2020
Total program is 44 credits
$1,487 per credit
2019 – 2020
September 3–6, 2019
September 9 – November 8, 2019
Rosh Hashanah Observed
September 30, 2019
Yom Kippur Observed
October 9, 2019
Fall Term Exam Week
November 11–15, 2019
January 6 – March 13, 2020
MLK Day Observed
January 20, 2020
President’s Day Break
February 17–21, 2020
Winter Term Exam Week
March 16–20, 2020
April 6 – June 5, 2020
April 9, 2020
Good Friday Observed
April 10, 2020
Memorial Day Observed
May 25, 2020
Spring Term Exam Week
June 8–12, 2020
Dates to be announced
* All dates subject to change
One of my favorite aspects of the program was the specificity of the courses we took. Each and every class was geared towards learning how to directly apply themes taught in the classroom to the real world. The Art Law courses were especially interesting and practical, and having three terms with impressive professionals exponentially increased my understanding of complex legal concepts.
M.A. Art, Law and Business
New York, 2017-2018
The program helped me to understand the structure of the art market, in particular how art galleries, especially emerging art galleries, and dealer systems work. I loved the fact that we were immersed in the art world, both practical and theoretical parts as I love art history and the hands-on approach that Christie’s Education offers.
M.A. Modern and Contemporary Art and the Market
New York, 2013-2014