Leah Rosenfeld ’20

David Tunick, Inc., New York, NY

Albrecht Dürer’s, The Beast With Two Horns Like a Lamb.

Three months ago, I entered David Tunick, Inc. in the Upper East Side of Manhattan for the first time. Unsure of my specific role in the art gallery, but excited to be working in New York City, I was nervous and excited as I entered the small converted apartment space. Gallery Director Kendall Follert ’13 welcomed me and introduced me to David ’66, Beth, and Esther. It took me a week or two to familiarize myself with the gallery and to get to know my colleagues, but I think I adjusted well and was soon able to dive into my projects.

I primarily worked on a summer-long project to catalogue prints and drawings that have come into the gallery over the years. When I began my internship, I did not know what cataloguing entailed. Three months later, I now feel as though I have a strong grasp on this skill, a skill centrally important to gallery and museum work. In short, cataloguing art requires a thorough investigation of every aspect of the life of the work. The massive project was perfect for me; I have always been a highly attentive to detail and quite organized. Artist, title, date, medium and dimensions are the most basic components required to catalogue works of art. But I found that the process was far more interesting and challenging when the centuries-old prints that I was examining had faded or indecipherable marks or annotations left on them. Collector’s marks from the 19th and 20th centuries frequently appeared on the verso of etchings and engravings, leaving a fragmented trail of clues about the print’s past life that I got to piece back together and record. Some prints had watermarks imprinted into the aged, delicate paper from centuries ago that needed to be identified and dated. My work here was the most exciting, hands-on type of work I have ever done; I got to work closely with art made by Dutch, Flemish, and German Old Masters from centuries and centuries ago every single day for ten weeks! I was also exposed to more contemporary art at the gallery, but my favorite works to catalogue were the oldest ones with small clues left for me to find.

As the only gallery intern at David Tunick, Inc., I had many opportunities to contribute to the daily operations of the gallery in a direct, hands-on way. Because the firm is so small, I felt that my role there had an influence on the successes of the gallery. Although my summer-long project took up most of my time, I also worked on smaller scale projects, turning over research about a particular artist or artwork that David needed by the end of the day for a sale, or getting to help transport art from place to place. One of my most memorable experiences was tracking down the various locations of the impressions of one particular print by Jacques Villon; I got to visit the Frick Reference Library many times for this! In this sense, I felt as though my actions were directly benefiting the functioning of the gallery every day.

This gallery internship has taught me a lot about what I hope to devote my career to after college. I have always thrived in social environments, working closely and engaging with other people. During previous summers I have worked in places where human interaction is centrally important to my position. This summer, for the first time, I conducted independent research in a place where every person seemed to have his or her own task. Fortunately, the prints and drawings kept me entirely engaged and interested throughout the summer. I had always thought of myself as extroverted, someone who loved working alongside other people. I think this is still true, but it is exciting to learn that I can also thrive in an environment that requires high levels of focused, independent research.

In reflecting upon my experience at David Tunick, Inc., I have found that I am interested in combining these two seemingly opposed types of work. A combination of independent research and group collaboration may be the perfect balance for someone like me. These past three months have given me an extraordinary sense of individual success and growth. I have become better through my own hard work and discerning eye. However, I believe that everyone, myself included, can benefit in a more profound way by learning and growing alongside others. Art creates shared spaces and connects people through common experiences, and I would like to keep this in mind as I figure out career plans for after college.

My gallery internship has also inspired me to pursue more art and museum related courses and activities on campus. I have enrolled in the art history and economics course, Acquiring Art, which takes place at the Williams College Museum of Art and which I hope will expand upon what I have learned about the art market and the role of art in society during my internship. I think that this course will be perfect for me in the sense that there will be some necessary collaboration, but research projects and papers will be more independent. I also hope to work at WCMA in a regular way in order to stay in touch with my belief that art and knowledge about art can bring people together in our divisive world.

I would like to thank Dawn Dellea at the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for being so helpful and communicative throughout the spring and summer regarding the Alumni Sponsored Internship Program.

Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Jimmy Shern and Ms. Florence P. Lee for their generosity. Without their support I would not have been able to intern at David Tunick, Inc. I am so grateful for having been given the opportunity to work closely with artworks alongside my colleagues at the gallery who are experienced in the field. ASIP has benefited so many students at Williams College, most of whom would not have been able to complete such exciting internships.