Movers & Shakers

Movers & Shakers: Christie's Capera Ryan

December 22, 2018

Capera Ryan wearing the Frisco jacket and Indy leather leggings and standing between, left, Harmony Korine's "Flex Cemend Check" and Kenneth Noland's "Native Clown," photographed by Taylor Jewell at Christie's in New York

Imagine being surrounded by amazing art every day, the sort of art that gets prime real estate at the world's top-shelf museums and galleries. But instead of gazing at a distance, you get to walk up thisclose and revel in the imagery, the brushstrokes, the colors. Now imagine you get paid to do this. That's the enviable job Capera Ryan, a bold-faced name in the global art business, has. As Deputy Chairman of Christie’s Americas, she's an art-world Who's Who, with over 20 years in the industry. Here, the Dallas native shares her story with us as well as tips on where to soak up the world's best art. Culture lovers, start booking those tickets now...

When did the art bug bite?

From as early as I can remember, my mother had me in art classes. I always made art and then in college I studied both studio art and art history as well as human and organizational development, which made for the perfect combination at Christie’s. My grandmother collected and I would peruse the auction and gallery catalogs that would arrive as a child, and I was always intrigued by all the different objects and paintings and the history of how artists influenced later generations...

A typical day at Christie’s includes...

There is no typical day at Christie’s. One day you are traveling in London working on a contemporary collection, the next day you are in New York working on a jewelry collection and the next day you are in Dallas working on an American painting collection... I am always meeting with different people, from collectors to advisors to estate lawyers—anyone in a decision-making capacity on buying or selling art. The business has changed so much since I started in the art world.

Favorite thing about what you do?

I love the people! I am always learning from my colleagues, who are so passionate about their respective fields… there is always more to learn. And then my clients are interesting. I always love hearing why people start collecting in certain areas and what it is that got them started on their collecting journey. I love that I am always learning and meeting interesting people and traveling to exciting places.
Capera Ryan wearing the Mel pumps, in front of Harmony Korine's "Flex Cemend Check," photographed by Taylor Jewell at Christie's in New York
Capera Ryan wearing the Frisco jacket and Indy leather leggings, in front of Wojciech Fangor's "Untitled"," photographed by Taylor Jewell at Christie's in New York

The one work of art that changed your life?

When I was 14, my grandmother gave me a Warhol of Annie Oakley, from the Cowboys and Indians series. I think this was the moment that I really got the art bug. There is nothing like living with art and learning about the art that surrounds you.

Advice to those interested in pursuing a career in the arts?

Take advantage of every opportunity, whether it’s an internship, visiting a gallery, museum or collection. The art world encompasses so many different avenues and, the more familiar you are with the different paths one can take, the better off you are in making decisions about what part of the art world you will find joy and fulfillment!

Best cities for great art...

New York, London and Paris — each of these has incredible art museums. I always try and stop at each of the major museums when I am in town and catch the exhibitions... and, of course, any galleries that have fun exhibitions.

And what I recommend there...

New York: The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum
Paris: Musée d'Orsay, as I sit on the Board of the American Friends of the Musée d'Orsay and it has a fabulous show of Picasso's Blue Period up now; the Louvre, and Yves Saint Laurent Museum
London: Tate Modern, the National Gallery, the Royal Academy of ArtsCourtauld Institute, and the Wallace Collection

Shop Capera's Picks

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Shop: Frisco Jacket
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Shop: Rocco Dickey
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Shop: Indy Leather Legging
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Shop: Mel Pump