January 28, 2013
Communications and Marketing
Senior Jasna Numanovic is used to studying priceless works of art in textbooks and lectures as a communication major and fine arts minor. But last summer, she had a once in a lifetime experience of learning about the art world through an internship at its epicenter-Christie's Art Auction in New York City.
Jasna was introduced to the internship by fine arts professor and former Christie's employee, Kimberly Kersey Asbury, who took a group of seniors to NYC to explore careers in the art world and asked Jasna, a sophomore at the time, to come along. When they stopped at Christie's for a behind-the-scenes tour and to see one of the famous live auctions, Jasna was hooked.
"I just fell in love with it. Seeing Andy Warhols being sold for 70 million dollars in front of your eyes within two to three minutes, I was fascinated." she said.
"As soon as I got home I researched the internship and started applying a year before the applications even went out."
Jasna worked with the Office of Career Services in the Center for Experiential Learning (CEL), who helped her prepare her career portfolio and supported her throughout the application process. She also stayed in touch with the people she met on the tour and saw her perseverance pay off. She was the first intern accepted into the program.
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Summer in the Big City
She packed her bags and headed out to NYC in June, moving into an apartment with several other Christie's interns. Half the week she'd work with the art transport department, learning how valuable pieces travel across the world. The other half, she'd work on research for Christie's top 300 clients, a roster that includes the world's richest and most influential movers and shakers.
She was able to attend the live auctions, where pieces sell at astronomical prices in the blink of an eye. To illustrate the grand scale of the events, Christie's brought in $412,253,100 at its post-war and contemporary art sale in November, the highest sale ever of its category. Andy Warhol's Statue of Liberty sold for $43.7 million. Eleven works sold for more than $10 million.
"The auctions are so exciting and fast paced, it's crazy. It's kind of like the Olympics for the arts," said Jasna.
Balancing out these frenetic moments were ones of serenity and inner reflection. Jasna says her favorite parts of the internship were the early mornings at Christie's gallery.
"It's so peaceful and quiet before anyone else comes and you get to look at amazing art one on one. I felt really privileged," she said.
Inspiration and Self-Discovery
For Jasna, herself a painter, New York City was a vibrant, pulsating source of endless inspiration and self-discovery.
"I just got tons of ideas for new things I can create, so that was the perfect place for me," she says, and describes the daily trips to surrounding museums after work. "I've always been into the arts, and I've studied it in France, Greece, Italy, and the Amazon. I think art unites people. It's a universal thing that can connect with people easily. It's a shared meaning,"
Like the way art helps the viewer to discover something within him or her, the internship showed Jasna the career she wants to pursue. She's been staying in touch with the people she met at Christie's and hopes to return there in the future.
"I was trying to make those connections, through always being a little early for work or staying an hour extra even if I was tired, just being 'like can I help you with something,' because it all matters in the end. It didn't feel like work, I loved the people. It was great," she says.
When asked what painting she would buy if she had unlimited resources, she tips her head to the side and leans back in her chair, looking off into a personal gallery of favorite pieces only she can see. "Grand Canal in Venice, by Monet," she answers after much thought and personal battle. "I'm a sucker for Monets. I fell in love with that painting in high school." She leans back and thinks again, appearing to reconsider. It's clear having to choose just one painting is causing her inner torment, but she sticks with it. "Yea, definitely. I love that one."
For now, it's just an imaginary purchase. But it's clear that at this rate, with that much passion and dedication, and a life-changing summer of experience behind her, it's very likely she'll be running a real gallery of her own one day, with as many Monets as she wants hanging on the wall.
Story by Samantha Glavin, class of 2014
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