Career Profile of Art Auction House Junior Cataloguer

Sotheby's Fine Art Auction
Sotheby's staff hold up Edouard Manet's 'Self-Portrait with a Palette' at Sotheby's on June 22, 2010 in London, England. Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Images

An Auction House Junior Cataloguer works full-time in an art auction house assisting the Head Cataloguer on auction sales.

Education Needed

A 4-year college degree is typically required to work in an auction house as a Junior Cataloguer. However, having majored in art and/or business is recommended for this position.

Duties

A Junior Cataloguer conducts extensive research about an artwork. This type of work includes researching property for cataloging and is conducted by using online databases, as well as using the Internet and various print media to seek out all the available information about a work of art.

The research then entails the verification of numerous factors such as the artwork’s authenticity, provenance, and medium. Not only is all the data on an artwork compiled, but any information regarding the artist’s biography is included as part of the research.

To be a good researcher also includes being a good writer, as a Junior Cataloguer needs to write beautifully-written and engaging auction lot descriptions. Being adept at the written word can also help in career advancement.

Other duties of a Junior Cataloguer includes helping with the vetting of property with the Art Auction Specialists and helping to amend the catalog if necessary.

Skills Required

A Junior Cataloguer is skilled in conducting formal research. Besides research, a Junior Cataloguer is skilled in copywriting, creative writing, and scholarly writing. Being a highly skilled writer and being able to write in various tones is key to this position.

However, writing and research are not the only skills. Being efficient, a multi-tasker, and meticulous to detail are all vital skills for working as a Junior Cataloguer in an art auction house.

And lastly, a Junior Cataloguer must have a passionate interest in the visual arts and culture in order to do this job well.

Experience Needed

To be hired for an art auction house, a Junior Cataloguer should have some cataloging experience, plus have a deep interest in the art that the auction house represents. Being a skilled writer and having a publication record are good assets to have for this position.

How to Be Hired

Art auction houses usually post job listings on their websites or other art-related sites when job opportunities become available.

Qualified applicants are usually asked to email their cover letters and resumes to the auction house’s Human Resources Department to be considered for a position.