NEW YORK, NY.- Ralph M. Chait Galleries
, the world-renowned specialists in fine antique Chinese porcelain and works of art and export silver, are moving to a new location in
The Crown Building, 730 Fifth Avenue. Making the announcement was Allan S. Chait, who with his two sons Andrew and Steven operates the 104-year old gallery. According to Mr. Chait, their gallery will open on January 6, 2014.
"Since the building is next door to us, this is a relatively easy move," says Mr. Chait. "We look forward to showcasing the best Chinese porcelain and works of art in our new gallery," adds Mr. Chait, whose three-generation family business, founded by his father Ralph, is the oldest Chinese art specialist in the United States.
The Stylander Design Group has been commissioned to design the new 4,000 square foot space, which will consist of several connecting galleries and a library, housing an extensive collection of over 5,000 volumes.
"I'm very pleased that the Chaits are continuing their collaboration with the Stylander Design Group," says Johan Stylander, principal of the design studio. "The design of the new gallery aims to provide an elegant and understated backdrop to the extraordinary collections of Asian Art. The new space features high open ceilings, which will imbue the galleries with a contemporary and airy feel."
The Ralph. M. Chait Galleries has an illustrious history. It was founded by Ralph M. Chait, who arrived in New York from London on July 4, 1909. "Having read books about America's cowboys and the Wild West, my father disembarked from the ship, heard loud booming sounds, saw the sky ablaze and thought he was in the middle of a gunfight. He had no idea it was the Fourth of July and the fireworks were part of the celebration," Allan Chait recalls.
Originally working with family members in the antiques trade, Chait familiarized himself with various aspects and fields of collecting, but he gravitated towards Chinese art. "From that point on," says Chait, "my father immersed himself in the study of Chinese art in all its forms." Ralph Chait opened his first gallery at 19 East 56th Street, where he remained until the late 1920s. His next move was to 600 Madison Avenue.
It was during this time that Allan Chait with his older sister Marion started helping their father in the gallery. "I learned at his knee," he says. "My father showed me how to handle the delicate pieces and how to pack them in a very slow and meticulous manner. In later years, he took me on buying trips that included one where we traveled to the English countryside, where we acquired a very special collection. After viewing many different objects, my father cast his eye on a spectacular Kangxi vase, of which there were only eight known at the time. He arranged to have everything shipped back to the States, except for the vase, which he carefully carried with him on the train back to London."
"I remember him locking the vase in the hotel closet, and when it came time for dinner he refused to go out because he didn't want to leave the vase. He ordered room service - with settings for three. Puzzled, I asked him: "Why three and he replied non-chalantly, You, me and our guest of honor."
Over the years, the gallery has had various Midtown addresses but no matter which one it was, Chait Galleries always welcomed a parade of notables with a keen interest in Chinese art passing through their gallery doors including President Herbert Hoover, Nelson Rockefeller, Frank Lloyd Wright, Sir Percival David, Martha Graham, Adlai Stevenson and Senator Hugh Scott. Their clientele also includes a steady stream of prominent interior designers such as Peter Marino, Mario Buatta, , Michael Simon, and Mark Hampton Inc, all of whom know they can find rare and beautiful objects for the homes of their tony clientele.
Thanks to the reputation of impeccable expertise and scholarship, the Ralph M. Chait Galleries has been a go-to source for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Frick Collection, the Chicago Institute of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Nelson Atkins Museum, and the Peabody Essex Museum.
The gallery is a member of the Asia Week New York Association and is a founding member of The National Antique & Art Dealers Association of America and regularly appears at The Winter Antiques Show, as well as The Philadelphia Antiques Show and The Nantucket Historical Society Antique and Design Show.