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Art is where the heart is

Recent graduate Carolina Sagardoy Saavedra (BA History of Art, 2019) always knew she had a passion for fine art. She turned that passion into a reality – graduating from Warwick and moving to New York to study a Masters’ degree in Art Business at the world-renowned Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Today, she uses the knowledge she gained at Warwick to help art be bought and sold across the world.

What does a History of Art degree involve?
In a nutshell, you learn how works of art are shaped and evolved by the history surrounding them. You also learn about particular artists and movements in-depth, which strengthens your knowledge of specific time periods. You’re asked to write essays on what you have learnt and shape your observational and writing skills. The weekly background reading is also a great opportunity to learn about movements from the artists themselves or through critics that can show you how to tackle opposing views.

Tell me about your favourite undergraduate memories
I remember going to Venice for three months with the Warwick in Venice programme - it was one of my favourite experiences! You get to travel with your classmates and experience Venice and its history first-hand. One aspect I treasure is the friendships you make - the class is not very big, and you get to know everyone on a much deeper level. This is the most fun of it all!

What is the most valuable lesson you learned?
I would say being fully committed to your degree, but also allowing yourself to enjoy every aspect of it - the people you are surrounded with, your teachers and their knowledge! Your university days are over in a second, and it is important to have made the most of it!

What happened after your graduation?
I graduated in summer 2019, and I had a fairly clear idea of what I wanted to do next: learn about how the art world works. My degree taught me about the evolution of art through the ages, and I wanted to learn about how those works of art fit in the 21st century and its art market. I applied to Sotheby’s Institute in New York to do an MA in Art Business. I spent a year there and became extremely passionate about the world of auction houses, which then led me to apply to artnet, an art market website, for a role in post-sale.

What do you love about your job?
As an Associate Manager, my role now consists of overseeing transactions after an auction has closed. This involves shipping, payments, taxes and all the logistics involved with the transaction until the work has been delivered to the client’s house. The part I enjoy the most is the day-to-day interaction with clients. This role has also allowed me to grow, both professionally and personally, by pushing me out of my comfort zone and teaching me how to deal with higher level matters.

How did Warwick help you get to where you are?
Warwick shaped who I am today and deepened my passion for art. Having one-to-one interaction with my professors is something I will always cherish, and the conversations that emanated from this helped me focus on getting where I am today. I greatly enjoyed the degree and I was able to study at Sotheby’s with more than just a general understanding of art!

What surprised you about your time at university?
I am surprised at how much I use the knowledge I learnt in my current position! You never stop learning about new artists and movements, but I am surprised at how much I can remember from my time at Warwick! Another thing that blew me away was my classmate’s passion for art - it was contagious!

What advice would you give 18-year-old Carolina?
Take advantage and profit as much as you can from the present. Be in the moment and don’t worry about the future. If you do things right in the present, the rest will fall into place!

"Warwick shaped who I am today and deepened my passion for art."
Carolina Sagardoy Saavedra