Exploring the collections of antiques dealer Joel Chen ahead of his Christie’s auction

Joel Chen takes us through his rich and varied personal collections ahead of his Christie’s auction

For the Los Angeles-based antiques dealer, Joel Chen, collecting has always been about personal taste. ‘I have absolutely no unity in my acquisitions. I just go around and see what I like,’ he says, adding, ‘The prime element would have to be the quality of workmanship.’

Chen’s liberated personal collection is due to be auctioned at Christie’s this month. More than 300 lots that span mid-century and contemporary design, Asian art, antiques and decorative objects will go on sale both online and at Christie’s Rockefeller Centre in New York.

As one of the most respected dealers in the US, Chen first traded Asian art and antiques in tribute to his Hong Kong heritage, before championing early modern design. He is a prolific collector of Ettore Sottsass’ work, and was a significant lender to the first US retrospective of the designer organised at LACMA in 2006.

Christie’s sale celebrates all of these highlights in Chen’s career. From 18th-century Chinese furniture, traditional porcelain and inlaid objects, to iconic pieces by major designers such as Finn Juhl, Carlo Mollino, Hans Wegner and Sottsass, the collection truly reflects the vibrancy of Chen’s keen eye.

JF Chen Collection,13 February at Christie’s New York, with online sale, 7-14 February

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.