As someone who signed up for her first art history class “accidentally,” Liz Dolgicer ’16, currently a Politics and Art History double major, has come a long way. This summer Liz interned at Christie’s Auction House in New York City, a renowned institution through which art by Picasso to Warhol has passed.
She had previously interned at the auction house summers before, but returned this past summer in the Old Masters paintings department. “I was studying art approximately ranging from the 14 to early 19th century, I was exposed to so much knowledge. I was able to watch as a specialist debated and judged what was considered good or bad art,” says Dolgicer, who had studied this kind of art from textbooks here at Bates.
“It’s a dream, being able to see the images I had written about in papers here at Bates.” At Bates, Dolgicer is learning the critical fundamentals of great art and gaining an intellectual understanding of the art industry. She is gaining an understanding of the artistic disciplines that will help her translate opinions about art history, which is a key element to successful businesses such as Christie’s.
Christie’s internships also act as training for students by bringing in speakers to discuss art, which allowed Dolgicer to enhance her knowledge further outside of the Bates classroom. The auction house even funded her admission to all art museums in New York City. This summer Dolgicer, was able to draw directly on her academic studies when she was asked to help allocate and detail the work of famous artists. Her personal favorite is a landscape painting from Italian artist Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto.
When asked about her life after Bates, Dolgicer concluded that after this internship she is confident that the art industry is thriving thanks to avid corporations such as Christie’s Auction House.
But the idea of art history in the “real world” has not always been positive. In the past, parents may have warned their children that an art history degree means a job pumping gas at your local Shell station.
President Barack Obama’s 2014 speech also suggested the negative implications of the major by saying, “Folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree.” This concept has made huge influences on Bates students and college students everywhere. A 2012 U.S News survey showed that 42 percent of parents push their children towards majors that will, supposedly, financially pay off. This stereotype of the art history major is slowly transforming as industries such as Christie’s thrive. “Majoring in art history allowed me to relate to and understand the psychology of the creative mind,” she said. When asked what course she wished she could add to the Bates catalog, Dolgicer responded saying she wished she could take a course on art history in the digital issue. “My art history education was the first step in training my eye to recognize the recurring signatures of price movement in the financial markets.” Christie’s, along with other major auction houses, are gearing toward a wide range of socio-economic classes, with their new online auction options.
Looking towards the future, Dolgicer is already working to create meaningful opportunities outside of Bates to add to her previous successful internship. She’s looking into formal post-graduate internship programs within the industry. “Working at Christie’s helped me gain an even better understanding of the day-to-day intricacies of this industry and furthered my appreciation for the skills needed to successfully manage the business end of an artistic venture,” she says. “Equally important, this experience left me even more excited at the possibilities ahead and how I can best leverage my education in the luxury art industry I love.”