With art collectors for parents and a childhood filled with dealers and auctions, a career in art “was in my blood,” says Steven Lash ’66, who helped start and is now chairman of Christie’s Auction House in New York.
But it didn’t come together right away. Lash studied art and architectural history as an undergraduate at Yale and cultivated these interests during military service and on a fellowship to South America. After business school, he sought out and turned down a job at Sotheby’s “because I thought it would be too much fun,” he says.
Lash spent nearly a decade on Wall Street in the corporate finance department of SG Warburg before joining Christie’s in 1976. “The investment banking experience was superb training for the auction business,” he says. “I think about it every day.”
But art was his passion, and Christie’s enabled it also to be his job. “I feel like my life has merged into one giant ball of wax that seems very much to turn on art,” he says. “My children are involved in it, my clients are my friends, my friends are my clients. My workday definitely does not begin at nine and end at five, but that’s great—it’s fantastic.”