For over 100 years, Ralph M. Chait Galleries has been a respected, trusted authority and taste-maker in dealing Chinese art.
This Winter Show 2019 season in New York City, the House Tipster Industry team spoke exclusively with President Andrew H. Chait to hear about the century of his family history behind the firm.
Andrew H. Chait
“We’re the oldest gallery dealing with Chinese art in the States,” Chait said. “We were established in 1910, and our specialty is 17th-18th century Chinese porcelain, starting from around Kangxi up until about 1800.”
Ralph M. Chait Galleries now has a beautiful location on 52nd St. in Manhattan, but its deep historical roots are global.
“We’ve had a gallery since my grandfather founded it in 1910,” Chait explained. “It’s always been in the family. My grandfather came over to the U.S. [from London] in 1908 at the age of 16. He was sponsored by a cousin who had an art gallery that dealt in various types of art, and my grandfather developed a love for Chinese art.”
“He went out on his own in 1910 and dealt pretty much entirely in Chinese art, and during the times of the Depression he dealt in whatever he was able to sell to get by,” Chait added. “He always had a love for Chinese art, yet he never made it to China.”
In addition to its gallery location, Ralph M. Chait Galleries displays select offerings at four annual shows throughout the year, including The Winter Show.
As Chait took our team around his booth during this January NYC Winter Show event, he brought us through hundreds of years of art history and impeccable style.
“[In addition to Chinese porcelain], we also get into earlier pottery materials as well, with pieces like the guardians, warriors, and camels you see here,” he explained.
“We also display some export porcelain and Chinese export silver,” Chait said, describing a special series of pieces.
“We had one of the original largest collections of Chinese export silver, and we did an exhibition of it in 1985 for the 75th anniversary of the gallery.”
These pieces are now celebrated for their style and rarity.
“Chinese export silver was made by the Chinese for export to Europe, but unfortunately, not a lot of it still exists: a lot of it was melted down because it was thought to be fake English silver. It had a higher silver content than sterling,” Chait explained.
Guests can experience even more of Ralph M. Chait Galleries’ fine art collections by visiting their Manhattan space located at 16 East 52nd Street.