9.18.2008

Christie's


I could not write about French style without mentioning Christie’s Education in Paris. For one year, I studied Fine and Decorative French Art History at Christie’s, covering every period from the middle-ages to the present. This course of study increased my appreciation for French art and design. It is part of the reason I wanted to create this site.

Studies at Christie’s included architecture, painting, furniture, sculpture, porcelain, silver, tapestry and textiles, and all of their associated crafts. Students were provided entrée to private galleries, atéliers, and reserve museum collections, including the Louvre and the National Library. As a group, we traveled to the Loire Valley, Lyon, Lille, Brussels and Maastricht. We had a wonderful Director, Monsieur Frédéric Ballon, whose knowledge and enthusiasm for our program fostered a high level of seriousness and aptitude in all the students.

We met with museum curators, professors, gallery owners, artisans and historians to better learn the foundation and evolution of French design and execution. We learned how to value items and catalogue collections, how to differentiate authentic from false, how to care for, clean and restore valuable works of art. We learned the “ins and outs” of the auction trade.

In our class, there were 47 students from all over the world: France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Venezuela, Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada and the United States. We had a wonderful group dynamic with everyone offering interesting insights to French art and culture based on their experiences in their own countries. As a group, it was the highest-quality of people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing
. I made friends and developed relationships that I hope will last my lifetime.

My year of study and living in Paris transformed and intensified my appreciation for French quality, design and culture. I went from thinking Limoges porcelain is beautiful and selecting it for my own home to knowing why the finest porcelain is made in the town of Limoges, the influencing characteristics of the soil in this part of France and the economic factors the helped this budding industry flourish.

My year at Christie’s was marvelous in every sense of the word. Unfortunately, it is an experience that cannot be replicated. Christie’s Education closed its school in Paris and there are no plans for it to reopen. Similar programs are offered in London and New York, but the curriculum is very different from the program I studied.

I have fond memories of my year at Christie's and I will always appreciate having had the opportunity to study there.

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