Founded in London in 1912, S.J. Shrubsole opened a New York branch in 1936, under the direction of Eric N. Shrubsole. Mr. Shrubsole spent that year driving a black Packard, laden with silver and letters of introduction, to virtually every major city in America. By the time he returned a year later, he had lain the foundations for what would become one of America’s finest antique shops.
Since then, we have worked with some of the world’s greatest collectors, from the serious, such as Irwin Untermyer and H.F. duPont, to the compulsive, such as Arthur Gilbert and William Randolph Hearst, to the compulsively unserious, such as Groucho Marx, who on being told that everything in the shop was antique and English, pointed his cigar at our porter and asked “even him?”
We have handled some of the greatest pieces in the world: the Sutherland Wine Cistern in the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Ashburnham Centerpiece in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Elizabethan Ewer and Basin in the Boston MFA were all bought and sold by us and represent a tiny portion of the great treasures that pass through our shop. Our expertise and enthusiasm are unmatched, and museums and collectors all over the world turn to us for advice, opinions, and valuations.
Finally, we pride ourselves on customer service, and on helping people with items large and small. If you are looking for a gift for $500, or a major piece of silver for a couple of million, you’re in the right place.
The Ralph M. Chait Galleries is the oldest specialist gallery in the United States in the field of fine antique Chinese porcelain and works of art. When Ralph M. Chait entered this field in 1910 he was a young man of 18 years, new to this country from London, and new to the field of Chinese art. Undaunted and with a remarkable intellect and innate sense of taste and quality, he taught himself and quickly became a knowledgeable, respected, and trusted dealer and authority in the field.
With an impeccable eye for quality and connoisseurship, Ralph soon counted among his clients some of the most important collectors of the day including John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Edward Sonnenschein, and Yale Kneeland. Over time, his clientele expanded to include many other major collectors including President Herbert Hoover, Sen. Theodore Francis Green (Rhode Island), Sen. Hugh Scott (Pennsylvania), Rep. Clark W. Thompson (Texas), Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, Sir Percival David, Avery Brundage, Winston Guest, Robert and Beatrice Mayer, and Ira Koger.. The gallery’s clientele today continues to include some of the most prominent collectors worldwide.
This history is also apparent on the wall of photographs in our Library of some of our clients (including some well known collectors) mostly from the 1950’s and 60’s- and at the table in the center of the room. This table is where we sit with clients to examine and discuss pieces. It has been with is from our early days. It is remarkable to consider the variety of collectors- from artists, political figures, executives, scholars, and connoisseurs- who have sat there. While many of these collectors represented a variety of backgrounds and callings, it is interesting to see their convergence in this one place, drawn by their appreciation and interest in antique Chinese art.
Over the years, the gallery has sold pieces to many major museums including: the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Freer Gallery; the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; the Los Angeles Country Museum; the St. Louis Art Museum; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Norton Museum of Art; the Sackler Gallery; and the Peabody Essex Museum.
The gallery has also worked with many major architects, decorators, and designers including Frank Lloyd Wright, Jay Spectre, Sister Parish, Albert Hadley, Ted Graber, Mark Hampton, Mario Buatta, Peter Marino, Elissa Cullman, and Parkin Saunders.
The gallery has for decades many prestigious antiques fairs in the United States, including today the Winter Antiques Show, the Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show, the Delaware Antiques Show, and the Nantucket Summer Antiques Show.
The gallery was also a founding member of the National Antiques and Art Dealers Association of America (member of CINOA), and members of the firm have serves as Officers and President of the organization.
One hundred nine years in business is an extraordinary accomplishment for a firm, particularly remaining within one family. As a three-generation family business we are cognizant of and steeped in its past but always are looking ahead. The gallery has witnessed a tremendous amount of history in its field. It has also weathered a remarkable variety of world and economic conditions. Throughout this time, it has maintained and enhanced its reputation as experts in the field and as an extraordinary purveyor of fine antique Chinese art to private and museum collectors throughout the world. The gallery today is owned and run by Steven and Andrew Chait. We are profoundly grateful to our grandfather and founder, Ralph M. Chait; and our father, Allan Chait and our aunt, Marion Chait Howe, in whose footsteps we now walk as we continue forward to the illustrious years ahead.
In 1912, James Robinson founded the firm bearing his name at 402 Madison Avenue in New York City where he specialized in Antique Silver and Antique Chinese Porcelains. After the First World War, he relocated to 721 Fifth Avenue at 57th Street and the firm remained in a one block radius of that site at 716 Fifth Avenue, 12 East 57th Street, and 15 East 57th Street until 1994 when it moved to its current location at 480 Park Avenue at 58th Street.
When James Robinson died in 1936, his brother-in-law, Edward Munves, succeeded him and was head of the firm until his death in 1983. Under his direction, the importance of Antique Silver was strengthened and a more significant emphasis was placed on English and French Porcelains and Glass. Edward Munves, Jr. joined the firm in 1952 and over the next decade jewelry was added to the inventory of top quality antique decorative arts. In addition, the firm expanded their unique collection of modern hand-made sterling silver. Carrying on the family tradition, Joan Boening joined her grandfather and father in 1979 and has been instrumental in elevating the Antique Jewelry collection to international prominence. She is now the president of James Robinson, Inc.
Today, the firm is best known for its outstanding Antique Jewelry of the 19th Century and Art Deco Jewelry of the 20th Century; Antique Silver of the 16th through 18th Centuries; Antique Porcelain services from England and the Continent; and Antique Table Glass. Also of note are the unique Handmade Sterling Silver reproductions in flatware, tea and coffee sets, candlesticks and trays which the firm produces today in the same manner in which they were crafted in the 18th Century. In every speciality, the main criteria in selecting objects are authenticity, workmanship, artistry, and condition, qualities evident in each article.
A La Vieille Russie, a family enterprise since its founding in Kiev in 1851, left the turmoil of the Revolution and was re-established in Paris around 1920 by Jacques Zolotnitsky, the grandson of the founder. The New York branch was opened in 1941 by the late Alexander Schaffer.
Still a multigenerational family business, under the direction of brothers, Messrs. Paul and Peter L. Schaffer, and Paul’s son, Dr. Mark Schaffer, A La Vieille Russie continues the tradition of dealing in fine art and antiques, and is known worldwide for its collection of Russian treasures. Goldsmith and jeweler Carl Fabergé was a client, and we are recognized today as international experts on his works. We specialize in European and American antique jewelry, 18th-century European gold snuff boxes, and antique Russian fine and decorative art, including silver, enamel, and porcelain, paintings, icons, and furniture.
We have been at our present location on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street since 1961, opposite Central Park. We maintain a strong exhibition schedule, both as exhibitors and lenders. For example, we exhibit annually at TEFAF Maastricht in the Netherlands, New York’s Winter Antiques Show, Masterpiece London, and the New York International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show.
Dalva Brothers was founded in 1933 by Leon Dalva Sr. and his brothers. He and his wife Jean ran the gallery until they were joined by their sons David II and Leon Jr. The founder’s grandsons, David III, and most recently Adam are the third generation of Dalvas to work here. We have recently moved to a six story historic townhouse at 53 East 77th Street after over 60 years on East 57th Street.
Dalva Brothers has one of the finest and largest inventories of 18th century continental decorative arts in the world, including furniture, porcelain, clocks, and sculpture, displayed in period paneled rooms. We have sold pieces to interior decorators, collectors, dealers, and museums, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Louvre. Our collection ranges from masterpieces with royal provenance to beautiful but more accessible pieces that reflect the amazing craftsmanship and design skills of eighteenth century Europe.
Established in 1938, Philip Colleck, Ltd. specializes in very fine eighteenth and early nineteenth century English Furniture and works of art. We are located in midtown Manhattan in a pre-Civil War Landmark brick house at 311 East 58th Street, just east of Second Avenue. Two floors of exhibition space display our collection of William & Mary, Queen Anne, Georgian, Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Sheraton and Regency furniture, with an emphasis on lighting, chinoiserie, mirrors and screens.
All of our inventory is carefully selected and guaranteed in writing. We take pride in our stock and are always searching for pieces of exceptional quality with particular attention paid to fine color and patination.
Samuel Merrin has been leading the gallery since 1987, taking over from his father, Edward Merrin, the gallery’s founder. Ed began his professional career in the family jewelry store, but “discovered” Pre-Columbian art on his honeymoon in Mexico and began collecting. At first, he used some of the objects for display purposes, highlighting them in their glittering cases. But one day, when a customer asked for the price of the ancient object rather than the jewel, a light bulb went off in Ed’s mind and he embarked on his life’s true career.
From its humble beginnings, sharing a space with the jewelry store, the gallery eventually moved to its current location and developed into one of the premier galleries of ancient art in the world.