Meet Daniel Lechner
Cheim & Read , New York
American Arts Course, New York, 2004
What does your job entail?
As sales associate at Cheim & Read I am part of a great sales team at the gallery and all the seven international art fairs we are participating in. I work with clients, art advisers, museum curators, and directors, oversee the art fair installations and get to travel a lot internationally. I get to work closely with a lot of our gallery artists, oversee production, help plan exhibitions and get to visit their studios regularly, which I enjoy a lot. I also oversee special events and gallery dinners, which is heaps of fun. While my main focus is to sell art, I highly treasure the many things that need to be done in context, around and in support of it.
What do you like about your job?
No two days are ever the same, which is perfect for me. I am able to structure my work quite freely and work with a great team at Cheim & Read. I get to represent some of the most outstanding artists and their works of our times, such as Louise Bourgeois and Joan Mitchell, Jenny Holzer and Jannis Kounellis to only name a few. I travel for the gallery to Europe and Asia for art fairs and get to visit clients as far as Australia and Beijing. Selling art is great fun and it turns out I am rather good at it. For me progress equals happiness and in the art world and business, I know, I can grow and continue to get better for the rest of my life past any possible limits.
In what way does the program of study you took at Sotheby’s Institute of Art help you in your current role?
Taking the course at Sotheby’s Institute of Art was the greatest thing I could have done as I got thrown right in the midst of the action. I came to New York to learn about the art market. Meandering through seven floors of sale exhibitions of all departments at Sotheby's almost every day for a year has given me an all-round understanding of so many areas of the art market and special areas of collection I was unfamiliar with, such as furniture and Asian Art. I also learned to wear many hats and see the front and back of pretty much everything I was able to put my eyes and hands on. I learned to be switched on and proactive. Most importantly however I was introduced to many key players in the art market, which has been the base of everything I am doing today.
What was it about the program that made you decide to come to Sotheby’s Institute?
I wanted to live in New York since I was 15 years old. After first considering to take the course at Sotheby's in London, I realized that I was quite familiar with most aspects of art history and all relevant cities, museums and galleries that we planned to visit. In New York everything was new for me. A different culture, a different perspective on European culture and art history, a different approach to buying art and a new life all together. I came to study for one year and I am still in New York eight years later.
What did you like the best about the program at Sotheby's Institute?
I was very impressed with the balance between high level lectures, the hands on practical study on the auction floor, field trips and visits of historic sites and collections. Grounding academic study in real life experience is very important for me and this course was perfect in that respect. Having access to an army of highly qualified specialists in all departments at Sotheby's and being welcomed and acknowledged with open ears, eyes and arms at all times as part of Sotheby's, made me feel at home and allowed me to accelerate tremendously in my studies.
Do you draw on the network of Institute Alumni in your current role at all?
We are very pleased with all the excellent interns that we have had at Cheim & Read from the Sotheby's Institute of Art. A shining example is Ms. Katharina Schulz-Hertzog, who was our intern for several months and made connections through her time at Cheim & Read to become the registrar at the Arab Museum of Modern Art as part of the QMA in Doha. It is a great honor and privilege to assist young brilliant people with determination and the know how to back it up, to accelerate in the art world.