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Meet Sarah Lurie

Marlborough Gallery, New York
MA American Fine and Decorative Art, New York, 2010
What does your job entail?

As an assistant at Marlborough Gallery, I am the first point of contact for all clients and visitors. I address general inquiries about the gallery’s artists and exhibitions, and help to connect existing and potential clients with the gallery’s directors. In addition to client services, I assist the gallery’s five directors and president by scheduling client meetings and studio visits, managing their correspondence, and updating the gallery’s master calendar with openings and exhibitions. I also work with the directors to coordinate monthly gallery openings and celebratory dinners.

What do you like about your job?

The people! My position at Marlborough has afforded me the opportunity to build relationships with the gallery’s clients, the artists and their families, and my colleagues. Marlborough’s knowledgeable staff invariably attracts knowledgeable collectors, as well as artistic talent, and I am so grateful for the candidness with which dealers, artists and collectors share their knowledge and experiences with me. There is no greater way to gain insight into art history, the artistic process, and the art market than by speaking to the direct participants. And, while I’ve been learning, I’ve been lucky to have made a few great friends in the process.

In what way does the program of study you took at Sotheby’s Institute of Art help you in your current role?

As a representative of the gallery, it is essential to be able to convey to visitors who our artists are and why they are relevant, and to be able to contextualize their works of art within the history of the medium and within the themes of Marlborough’s monthly exhibitions. It is important to do all this with clarity and professionalism. Many of the artists represented by Marlborough Gallery are living artists and very active, so having the research skills to cultivate a working body of knowledge for each artist is essential. Although my particular field of study was antiques, the emphasis of the Sotheby’s Institute program upon public presentation and research methods are applicable to any field of study. My coursework at Sotheby’s Institute provided me with a vast specialized vocabulary to describe artists’ methods and techniques, and also laid the groundwork for effective independent research to keep up-to-date with the market and current exhibitions. All of this helped me gain the confidence and enthusiasm to present my knowledge to any audience.

What was it about the program that made you decide to come to Sotheby’s Institute?

Sotheby’s Institute provided a hands-on approach that most typical master’s programs did not. The syllabi also featured outstanding faculty and guest speakers comprised of museum curators, conservators, art dealers and auction house specialists from all over the country. In addition, the program provided travel to key American historical sites in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware and South Carolina, to name a few, for antique shows and forums. I can’t think of a better way to learn about art than to engage physically with the art objects alongside leading experts in the American fine and decorative arts field and through site specific visits.

What did you like the best about the program at Sotheby's Institute?

In addition to the exceptional lecturers and the object-based studies and travel, the enthusiasm of my fellow students and faculty created an environment that fostered a keen focus and passion for the field of study. It was hard not to get excited about American antiques when you are part of a community that takes such pleasure and pride in their connoisseurship. Also, I was fortunate enough to have Carrie Barratt, Associate Director for Collections and Administration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as my thesis advisor. To submit my research to someone who is so highly regarded, and essentially my idol, is the greatest motivation of all to succeed.

Do you draw on the network of Institute Alumni in your current role at all?

When reviewing resumes for potential gallery employees, I always keep an eye out for Sotheby’s Institute graduates because I am confident in the skill set and work ethic that the program instills in its students.

Since this profile was published, Sarah has advanced to Eli Wilner & Company where she is the Gallery Sales Director. 

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