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Each year, selected master's students at Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York are invited to join the Peggy Guggenheim Collection internship for a summer in Venice, Italy. Two of this year’s fellows, Matilde Sirolli and Tahlia Sisney, spoke with us about their journeys to becoming participants in one of the most prestigious art fellowships in the world.

MA Contemporary Art student Matilde Sirolli was pursuing a degree in politics when she decided to pivot to studying the arts. “I rapidly discovered that my fascination for the arts existed beyond merely being a spectator, and I actually wanted to become an active participant in the industry,” says Matilde. Having grown up in Italy, Matilde had an inherent appreciation and understanding of art and cultural heritage which encouraged her to pursue a career in the art industry. “While in my final year of studying politics, I took a semester course at Sotheby's Institute of Art-London which reinforced my desire and interest to work in the art industry. I then completed a Graduate Diploma in the History of Art at The Courtauld Institute to gain foundational academic training in the field.” 

Most recently, Matilde’s journey brought her to the MA Contemporary Art program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York. Within just a few years, she has interned at prestigious art institutions including Sotheby's auction house, Masterpiece London Art Fair, The Brant Foundation, and Stephen Friedman Gallery. “Being Italian and having moved away from Italy over eight years ago, I am eager to return and contribute to the local art scene through the Peggy Guggenheim Collection,” says Matilde. “I am looking forward to all the extracurricular activities, such as seminars, lectures and field trips, offered in conjunction with the program, as they will allow me to learn while working.” 

Like Matilde, MA Art Business student Tahlia Sisney wasn't initially studying art business, despite coming from a family of art collectors. “I spent my entire adolescent, high school, and college career pursuing a career as a physician. I graduated last May with a degree in Neuroscience Pre-Medicine and a minor in business. During my junior year of college, I realized that the medical path wasn't for me and that something bigger was calling me. It took me about six months to lean into my feelings and realize that my vocation had been sitting right in front of me all along.” 

Tahlia’s dedication to the art world has been exemplified by her many achievements throughout her time at Sotheby’s Institute, including her recent inaugural exhibition, Persona, which featured artists such as Alex Katz, Takashi Murakami, Karyn Lyons, and Egon Schiele. 

“When I was told of the fellowship last fall, I knew I had to apply and that it would be a once in a lifetime experience. I hope to explore the rich history and context of Peggy Guggenheim's collection, gaining insights into her vision and the evolution of 20th-century art,” says Tahlia. 

“This fellowship presents an unparalleled opportunity to study artworks firsthand, delve into archival materials, and engage with experts in the field. I am eagerly anticipating the chance to contribute to the ongoing discourse surrounding modern art and to foster meaningful connections with fellow scholars, artists, and professionals within this vibrant cultural setting. I can’t wait!”