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M.A. Modern and Contemporary Art and the Market

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Fees: $63,012.00


The M.A. in Modern and Contemporary Art and the Market has trained students to be effective art world professionals since 1998. This program emphasizes the importance of direct contact with original works of art, and explores the history of art and the art market. Alumni of the program work throughout the global art world.

This interdisciplinary program provides an in-depth study of modern and contemporary art and the market from the mid 19th 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 practices as art works have changed hands, setting precedents for both institutional and private collectors. The program puts particular focus on the development of connoisseurship skills through object-based learning and investigative cataloguing and writing 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 essential to working with works of art that are crucial prerequisites for anyone wishing to work 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?

The program is designed both for students who have recently graduated with a B.A. in art history or related disciplines and for career changers wishing to gain access to positions in the art world. Students from a wide variety of fields have successfully merged their prior backgrounds with the program, launching successful careers at auction houses, galleries, nonprofits, art fairs and art advisories in the global art marketplace upon graduation.

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Course dates

Orientation Week
September 4 - 7, 2018

Fall Term
September 11 – November 9, 2018

Rosh Hashanah Observed
September 10, 2018

Yom Kippur Observed
September 19, 2018

Fall Term Exam Week
November 12-16, 2018

Winter Term
January 7– March 15, 2019

MLK Day Observed
January 21, 2019

President’s Day break
February 18-22, 2019

Winter Term Exam Week
March 18-22, 2019

Spring Term
April 8 – June 7, 2019

Memorial Day Observed
May 27, 2019

Spring Term Exam Week
June 10-14, 2018

Study Trips
Dates to be announced

*All dates subject to change

Dr. Reiss
Faculty Member

Julie Reiss

Program Director, Modern and Contemporary Art and the Market

Art Business Practice 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. Students meet a wide range of art world practitioners to learn about all aspects of the production, exhibition, and trade of cultural artifacts. The seminar consists of lectures, discussion sessions, and assignments and it is also 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:

An examination of the legal and ethical issues of the art business and of advisory and collection management practices, the winter term 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 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. 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 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 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, demonstrated during field studies, and examined 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 poststudio fabrication, among other issues. Students consolidate their knowledge and skills to evaluate the work and promise of emerging artists.

3 credits per term (9 credits total)

History of the Art Market I, II, III

This course follows the chronology of the Modern Art Survey. It familiarizes students with the institutions, 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.

Lectures are complemented by a weekly field study at Christie’s Auction House for exclusive walkthroughs of sale previews with specialists. The goal of the sale preview is to foster connoisseurship skills and to build an understanding of the current art market and the auction house environment. The field studies are a unique opportunity for students to develop the ability to look critically at artworks and to begin making determinations about value, based on specific criteria. These visits are another opportunity to experience object-based learning.

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 and presentation skills as well as 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 and its audience have been interpreted, including philosophy, sociology, economics and psychology.

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 explored.

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)

Master’s Thesis

The thesis is the culminating 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. 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.

3 credits


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, non-profit art institutions and insurance companies. The 45-day internships are vital in providing access and networks for our students and are of significant benefit to their future careers. In addition, Christie’s Education selects one qualified student to intern with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy.

2 credits

Study Trip

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.




Christie's Education New York welcomes applications from all qualified candidates. We seek students of diverse backgrounds, interests, ages and life experience.

We are currently accepting applications for the 2018-2019 academic year and we will continue to accept applications until the program is full.

Admission Requirements:

  • Completed application form
  • Non-refundable application fee of $95
  • Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent international degree
  • Official transcripts in sealed envelopes from all post-secondary institutions attended. All transcripts, diplomas or academic records must be official documents issued by the college or university and provided in the original language. Transcripts in other languages must be accompanied by English translations certified by official translation professionals or agencies
  • Applicants who attended university outside of the U.S. must submit an equivalency report from World Education Services,
  • Essay statement, 2–3 pages on why you are interested in the program
  • Sample of writing, no more than 10 pages, which can be taken from undergraduate work or written specifically for the application
  • Official GRE score report (optional)
  • Official TOEFL scores report if applicable
  • Three letters of academic or professional recommendation from writers who know the applicant’s abilities well. Letters should be sent in hard copy on letterhead with original signatures
  • Resume
  • Personal interview (by invitation only). Invitations will be sent once all application materials have been submitted

All admissions materials, including recommendation letters, must be submitted in hard copy to Christie's Education Admissions, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10020.

NOTES: Christie's Education welcomes international applicants and is authroized to issue a Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Students, or I-20, to international students who are accepted to the Master of Arts programs and meet the required financial guidelines. 

The Admissions Committee reviews complete applications only, and invites selected candidates for an interview that is mandatory for admission to an M.A program. These interviews are by invitation only. Successful candidates will receive an acceptance letter and be required to secure their place in a program by paying a tuition deposit within a pre-determined time.





Learning Outcomes

In preparation for careers in the art world, students will:

  • Learn to identify different media and assess an art work’s condition
  • Learn to describe works of art and situate them in art history
  • Gain an insider’s understanding of the structure of the art world and the interplay between the commercial and non-profit sectors
  • Develop transferable professional skills such as cataloguing, building a collection for a client, and critical writing
  • Acquire knowledge of the workings of the auction house
  • Gain art business and art market knowledge
  • Identify and apply different methodological strategies used in interpreting modern and contemporary art
  • Develop facility with current research resources for art history and art market research

For gainful employment disclosures visit this page.


Christie’s Education students and alumni have access to the on-site Library and a broad range of electronic resources. Christie’s Education is within easy reach of the key public research libraries, such as the New York Public Library and the local museum libraries.

The Christie’s Education Library consists of approximately 6,000 books and exhibition catalogues, sale catalogues, journals, e-resources and DVDs. Our library is an excellent resource that we are pleased to be able to offer to our students and alumni. The librarian is available to assist with reference queries during the open hours of the library.

Students at Christie’s Education also have access to a broad range of electronic resources. Through our affiliation with the auction house we have privileged access to Christie’s in-house sales database Lotfinder and to resources such as Artnet, Oxford Art Online and EBSCO Articles.

IT Facilities 
Desktop PCs, WiFi access and Canon Multi-functional devices with color printing and scan to USB available.

Additional Resources 
Christie’s Education Master's students have orientations on the resources available at New York art libraries such as the Thomas Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Art Reference Library, the New York Public Library and the libraries of the Museum of Modern Art. 

Karen Maguire 
Learning Resources Manager 


Upon graduation many of our alumni go on to very successful careers in the art world, founding their own businesses, including art consulting firms and galleries, and working at some of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world, including:

Antique Resources Inc.Chicago

Acquavella GalleryNew York

Aran Cravey GalleryLos Angeles

Arario GalleySeoul, South Korea

Art New England MagazineBoston

Art.syNew York

Artists Rights SocietyNew York

Artnet WorldwideNew York


Asia Art ArchiveHong Kong

Auctionata/Paddle8New York

AXA Art Insurance CorporationNew York

Baltimore Museum of ArtBaltimore

Brooklyn MuseumNew York

Cai StudioNew York

Castor GalleryNew York

Chambers Fine ArtNew York

Christie’sNew York, London, Shanghai*

CollectriumNew York

Columbia UniversityNew York

Cristin Tierney GalleryNew York

David Zwirner GalleryNew York, Hong Kong

DoyleNew York

EFA Project SpaceNew York

FITZ & CONew York

Gagosian GalleryNew York

Gallery HyundaiSeoul

Garis & HahnNew York

Gurr Johns Inc.New York

Heritage AuctionsNew York

Institute of Contemporary ArtNew York

InvaluableNew York

Jack Shainman GalleryNew York

James Cohan GalleryNew York

Jan Balet Art PreservationNew York

Jasper Johns Catalogue RaisonnéNew York

Kim Heirston Art AdvisoryNew York

Kavachnina ContemporaryMiami

Lehman Maupin GalleryNew York

Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York

Michael Werner GalleryNew York

Mnuchin GalleryNew York

MoMA PS1New York

Museum of Arts and DesignNew York

The New MuseumNew York

New York Art Residencies and Studio (NARS)New York

New York Foundation for the ArtsNew York

New York Public LibraryNew York

Nu-Garde GalleryNew York

Pace GalleryNew York

Phillips New York

Richard L. Feigen GalleryNew York

Richard Tattinger GalleryNew York

Robert Mann GalleryNew York

Saatchi ArtNew York

SCHEUBLEIN Art & Auktionen KGMunich

Sharjah Art FoundationSharjah, UAE

Skarstedt GalleryNew York

Sotheby’sNew York, Paris

Spanierman GalleryNew York

Stavanger KunstmuseumStavanger, Norway

Tate GalleryLondon, England

The Armory ShowNew York

The Heller Group - Art AdvisoryNew York

Thea Westreich Art Advisory ServicesNew York

Wenham Historical AssociationMassachusetts

Winston Art GroupNew York


There are currently over 100 alumni permanently employed in the Christie’s group of companies


Christie’s Education New York is accredited by the New York State Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education in their capacity as a nationally recognized accrediting agency. Christie’s Education New York has been designated as a graduate degree-granting institution by the New York State Board of Regents and its programs are registered with the New York State Education Department, Office of Higher Education, 89 Washington Avenue, 9th Floor, Albany, New York 12234, 518-474-1551.

For further details, please see relevant links below:


Tuition and Fees 2018–2019

Tuition Deposit 

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 10, 2018

Winter Term Tuition Payment 

Due December 3, 2018

Spring Term Tuition Payment 

Due March 4, 2019

Fall 2 Tuition Payment 

Due August 9, 2019

Total Program is 40 credits
$1,403.00 per credit

*The F-1 International Student Service Fee only applicable for international students who require a visa to study in US.


Due August 10, 2018
Due August 10, 2018
Due August 10, 2018

Dr. Veronique Chagnon-Burke, Academic Director

Dr. Julie Reiss, Program Director

Dr. Matthew Nichols, Associate Professor

Dr. Ágnes Berecz, Associate Professor

Visiting Lecturers:

Visiting faculty from outside of Christie's Education contribute lectures and presentations to the curriculum. Many of these professionals are working professionals in the arts or hold permanent academic appointments at other institutions of higher education. Among those who have recently participated in the programs are:

Laura Auricchio, Associate Professor, Parsons The New School for Design

John Cahill, Cahill Partners LLP

Claudia Calirman, Assistant Professor, John Jay College

James Cohan, Director, James Cohan Gallery; Founder, VIP Art Fair

Fereshteh Daftari, Independent Scholar & Curator

Kevin Dumouchelle, Associate Curator, Brooklyn Museum

Michael Findlay, Director, Acquavella Galleries; Author, The Value of Art

Christel Force, Associate Research Curator, Modern and Contemporary, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Deborah Goldberg, Independent Art Historian

Lisa Erf, Curator, Corporate Collection, JP Morgan Chase

Karen Gray, SVP, Chief of Staff, Americas, Christie’s

Amy Goldrich, Attorney, Cahill Partners, LLP

Elizabeth von Habsburg, Managing Director, Winston Art Group, LLC

Eleanor Heartney, Art Critic

Michel Heinrici, Associate Director, Registrar for Collections, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Noah Horowitz, Director of Americas, Art Basel

Suzanne Hudson, Associate Professor, University of Southern California

Susan Hunter, Associate Director, Appraisals, Winston Art Group NYC

Koji Inoue, Head of Client Strategy, Christie’s Americas

Michael Lobel, Professor of Art History, Hunter College

Brian Lukacher, Professor of Art, Vassar College

Patricia Mainardi, Retired Chair, Art History Dept, CUNY Graduate Center

James Martin, Founder, Orion Analytical

Ara Merjian, Associate Professor, New York University

Harper Montgomery, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Professor in Latin American Art, Hunter College

Sheri Pasquarella, SLP Art Advisory

Tash Perrin, SVP Trusts, Estates & Wealth Management Services, Christie’s Inc

Zhijian Qian, Assistant Professor, NYC Technical College

Sara Reisman, Artistic Director, Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation

Shelley Rice, Arts Professor, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

Jane Roos, Professor Emeritus, CUNY Graduate Center and Hunter College

Virginia Rutledge, Attorney, Private Practice, NYC

Robert Slifkin, Associate Professor of Fine Arts, New York University

Ana Sokoloff, Sokoloff & Associates, LLC

Howard Spiegler, Partner & Co-Chair, Art Law Group at Herrick Feinstein LLP

Paul Sternberger, Associate Professor, Rutgers University

Judy Sund, Professor, CUNY Graduate Center

Geri Thomas, President, Thomas and Associates, Inc

Murtaza Vali, Independent critic and curator

Midori Yoshimoto, Associate Professor, New Jersey City University

Katja Zigerlig, AIG Vice President, Art, Wine, Jewelry Insurance, Private Client Group

Lori Zippay, Executive Director, Electronic Arts Intermix

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