The art of the perfect fit

Unlocking Success: Hiring International Representatives

Posted by Emma Restall in News · June 2024

Following on from our overview on hiring international representatives we speak with Raffaela Zerilli who works for Lehmann Maupin Gallery.

So, where do you work?

I work at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery and I’m based in Berlin and Zurich overseeing the business in Central Europe.

What does your usual day look like? Do you work from home or from an office?

I have set up an office at home, one room just for work.

Completing the most unpleasant task of the day first, then I do emails and research, from 4pm onwards it’s meetings and phone calls. But mostly there is something coming up and I take it from there. If I’m lucky I’ll have an artist visit – Robin Rhode for example has his studio in Berlin. When I travel, there is no usual day.

What are you key tasks?

Building and strengthen the bridge for the artists of the gallery to Central Europe, so the collectors here can enjoy new artworks in their collection.

What skills/ attributes/ values do you believe are vital for working as a Representative?

Stay flexible, look at art as much as you can and tell the story about it but be reliable.

What are the upsides and downsides of working as a Representative?

You need to build up your own structure but you can shape it the way it suits you.

How do you navigate the challenges of not having a space and artworks?

There are a lot of ways to experience art nowadays, it does not have to be at a Gallery. No one goes to the bank to do their transfers anymore – we all love online-banking! The digital world helps a lot but also literature, theatre, music and fashion are very interwoven with fine arts. It often happens around us. Kader Attia for example placed the oversized two-faced Janus head, as a public sculpture, in Zurich just in front of the Kunsthaus.

What do you think are the advantages for a gallery working with a local representative?

It’s like a “go go gadget arm” and the most reliable way to get a trustworthy insight. As a representative you are familiar with your surroundings, you know the scene, the people and where the possibilities lie to support the artists in his career in the most successful way.

Do you travel a lot?

Having a home in two cities already requires a lot of movement so I try to travel with focus or combine as much as possible. Seeing art and having face to face time with collectors is still very essential.

How often do you see the team and what is the best way to stay in touch with what is going on?

At Lehmann Maupin we have a very professional Gallery structure, necessary information is easy to access. If possible, I love to see colleagues once a month – openings, fairs, biennales and museum shows are moments we catch up and share insights like in the old days prior to IMessages, messenger, email, What-App, WeChat, Instagram, Facebook, and what else there is to keep in touch.

What was your career path to this role?

Insatiable interest in art. 

Finally, what career advice would you give someone who is keen on working as a Representative for an internationally operating gallery?

Be polite, it’s a small world after all!

Thank you Raffaela for your insights into working as an international representative. If you are interested exploring this idea further – as a business or candidate, do get in touch and we can have a chat! Please email lisa@drawrecruitment.com.

Notes from DRAW · 25.06.2024

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