The art of the perfect fit

Working in the Arts: Emma Winder

Posted by Emma Restall in Interviews · February 2024

This month’s Working in the Arts segment focusses on the US. Emma Winder is the Business Director for Skarstedt Gallery in New York.

So, where do you work ? 

I work at Skarstedt Gallery, I am based in New York, but I work with our locations in London and Paris as well.

What is your job title?  

I am the Business Director for the gallery.

What time did you wake up? What are you usual working hours?

On a typical day, we work 9:30am-6pm. I woke up a bit earlier this morning to go to Pilates before work and to take a quick zoom call from home before heading into the gallery.

What are your key tasks?

My role is quite vast as I am the only one covering all three locations. I manage invoicing and incoming and outgoing payments. I am also the point person to produce, review and edit all contracts including sale agreements, consignments, loans, and anything auction related. I also manage all gallery and building operations, our insurance policies, and oversight of HR functions for the gallery.

What skills/ attributes/values do you believe are vital for roles like this?

Being able to multitask, prioritize, work quickly under pressure, work with many different personalities, and see the big picture as well as the details are all key.

What was your career path to this role? 

I started as an intern at Christie’s in the African Art Department. That led to a full-time role as the administrator in the Japanese Art Department, then business coordinator for Asian Art, then Business Manager for Asian Art. I was at Christie’s for ten years and gained immeasurable experience working with one of the biggest and fastest growing auction departments. I then moved over to Sotheby’s where I was the Business Director for Global Business Development, Regional Offices in North and South America, the Advisory Business, Global Marketing, and the Digital Art Department. I was there for three years and saw a whole new side to the auction business working with the bigger picture. This led to my role at the gallery almost two years ago.

What are the best and worst things about your job?

I love working at a gallery as it allows me the opportunity to work with artists that we represent on the primary market. It is a whole other side of the art market that I didn’t have experience with at an auction house. I feel an immense responsibility in my job to make sure everything is covered, and I don’t miss anything, since I am the only one covering all these things. That can be stressful and very busy at times, but it has also allowed me to learn so much that I never would have otherwise.

Have you had a secret job that is not on your CV? 

It isn’t really a secret or very exciting, but I worked at Starbucks as a barista in high school. I am extremely good at remembering people’s coffee orders because of it!

Finally, what career advice would you give to your younger self?

It is ok to not have everything figured out! Keep following your passion and what interest you the most, stay open to all possibilities, embrace change, and have faith in your abilities to learn and grow no matter the situation.

Thank you to Emma for taking the time to talk to us and look out for future insights into the art world.

Notes from DRAW · 14.02.2024

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