Career Profile of Art Auction House Catalog Associate

Heritage Auctions, Getty Images
A 1792 Silver Center Cent is shown on the cover of the Heritage Auctions catalogue on April 18, 2012 in Schaumburg, Illinois. The coin, considered the third best example of fourteen known to exist, was last sold at auction in 1974 for $105,000. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Job Description of an Art Auction House Catalog Associate

An Art Auction House Catalog Associate works full time in an art auction house to help clients find new works to bid on, to help the auctioneers present the works to be auctioned in the most enticing fashion, and to best feature the auction house items in an accompanying catalog.

The main goal of a Catalog Associate is to highlight the various works of art which are slated for auction, and to create a tantalizing catalog of text and images so that bidders will want to bid on the works.

Education Needed to Be an Art Auction House Catalog Associate

Most jobs in an art auction house require college degrees with a focus on the arts, because the nature of the work is specializing in the handling, promoting, exhibiting and selling works of fine art. Therefore, the art auction house staff need to be quite knowledgeable in the fine arts.

An Art Auction House Catalog Associate is required to have a Bachelor degree in the Arts as a minimum requirement.

Duties Required to Be an Art Auction House Catalog Associate

An Art Auction House Catalog Associate researches the various works of art by using online resources, libraries, archives and previously published auction catalogs. Besides being a thorough researcher, the Catalog Associate is also a superb writer and can write tantalizing descriptions of the auction and the works to be sold in a manner that is both informative and compelling.

The position merges fine art with business, as a Catalog Associate also identifies sales trends, and help both buyers and sellers throughout the auction/commissioning process. In addition, managing the house’s auction calendar is one of the main duties.

Skills Required to Be an Art Auction House Catalog Associate

An Art Auction House Catalog Associate is knowledgeable in art and collectibles.

Having job experience in a gallery, auction house or with a collector/collection is vital in knowing how to function and deal with the sales of artworks.

A Catalog Associate has strong oral and written skills, as the main parts of the job is to communicate with a wide range of experts and clients.

Career Opportunities for an Art Auction House Catalog Associate

Arts professionals will find that there are numerous career opportunities available in Art Museums and Art Auction Houses. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, overall employment opportunities for those working in the visual arts field is “projected to grow 11 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations.” 

How to Be Hired as an Art Auction House Catalog Associate  

To find a job in an art auction house, you can begin by contacting your local auction house.

Online job searching is also a dynamic way to find a job, as major art auction houses often post their current job listings on their websites.

In addition, art schools and universities, and online job sites post art employment opportunities for a wide range of jobs in the visual arts.

To apply for a job in an auction house, it is usually required that applicants submit their cover letters and resumes to the personnel department (HR Dept.) of the auction house.

Further Info on Art Auction House Careers

Fine Art offers many articles on careers in art auction houses. Here are a few related to being employed in an auction house:

Further Resources

The following weblinks are for online job listings for art related jobs such as working in an art auction house. Please note that these job listings have temporal deadlines, and that the data is constantly changing.

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