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Welcoming I.M. Chait: From Asian art to dinosaurs in Beverly Hills

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Written by ACNI Staff   
Friday, 30 December 2011 11:11

I.M. Chait displayed this giant saber-toothed cat skull at their New York showroom in 2011. Image courtesy of I.M. Chait.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (ACNI) – Among the distinguished auction houses that will be joining the family in the New Year is a Beverly Hills-based firm that consistently represents the gold standard in Asian art, natural history specimens, gemology and several other fields of expertise: I.M. Chait.

As is the case with most highly successful auction houses, the Chait family's tight-knit operation is driven by passion. It all began back in the decade of peace, love and protest.

When a draft notice interrupted Isadore M. Chait’s college education in the early 1960s he didn’t flee to Canada to avoid the war in Vietnam. Instead he signed up with the U.S. Marine Corps to serve his country and get out and on his way in two years' time. It’s this innate “get it done” attitude that has guided Chait to the top of the field in Asian art.

Today I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers is a family-owned and operated company with more than 40 years of experience.

While many American veterans stationed in Southeast Asia might have preferred to forget their time there, Isadore Chait embraced the experience.

“I fell in love with the people, the culture, the food, the music and the art,” he said.

Especially the art.

Returning to college, Chait completed course requirements in 2 1/2 years, graduating cum laude from the University of California at Los Angeles with a bachelor's degree in anthropology.

Selling several pieces that he had brought back from Asia—for a nice profit—made Chait realize a career as a teacher wasn’t his true calling.

“I was having fun buying and selling,” said Chait. “More fun than being back in school.”

Two years after he started selling Chinese antiques from his living room in 1967, Chait opened his first gallery specializing in Asian art.

Developing an eye for quality and authenticity, Chait became an expert in the field.

“I had the common sense to discern truth from fiction,” said Chait, who acknowledged making a few mistakes along the way but always learning from them.

Today, I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers guarantees everything they sell as authentic.

As a member of the Appraisers Association of America, Isadore Chait has served as a panel member regarding fakes and forgeries in Asian art and as a consultant specializing in Asian Art. He has also served as president of the Appraisers Association of America’s Southern California region.

Working with Isadore Chait are his wife, Mary Ann; and their sons Joshua, Joey and Jake.

The Chaits have expanded their scope to natural history, jewelry, European and American furniture, and fine art.

Their fifth annual New York Asia Week auction in March grossed $2 million.

I.M. Chait’s next big auction will be Jan. 15 in Beverly Hills, consisting of Asian and other collectibles, antiques and furnishings from a West Los Angeles Estate. I.M. Chait’s next major specialty auction will be Jan. 29, an Asian and International Fine Arts Auction, also at their Beverly Hills gallery, 9330 Civic Center Drive. These sales will feature Internet live bidding through

In his spare time Izzy Chait still enjoys his second calling as a jazz vocalist, which he has been doing since his college days. On a recent Friday evening when Auction Central News interviewed Chait he was on his way to a singing appearance at the Hollywood Studio Bar and Grill. That's what we call a passion for life.

To contact I.M. Chait phone toll-free 800-775-5020 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Visit the I.M. Chait website at

Watch for the fully illustrated online catalog for I.M. Chait's Jan. 15 sale, which will publish on in the New Year.

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Copyright 2011 Auction Central News International. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


I.M. Chait displayed this giant saber-toothed cat skull at their New York showroom in 2011. Image courtesy of I.M. Chait.

The I.M. Chait family consists of (from left) Joshua, Mary Ann, Isadore ‘Izzy,’ Joey and Jake. Image courtesy of I.M. Chait.

Twelve-flanged Ming dynasty porcelain palace vase, 34 inches high, which sold for $183,000 during New York Asia Week in March 2011. Image courtesy of I.M. Chait.

Pair of carved rhinoceros horn vessels, each 19 1/4 inches high, sold well above estimate in 2011 for $271,000. Image courtesy of I.M. Chait.

Antique Chinese porcelain tile with mountainous landscape scene, 19th century, with inscription and seal mark, 15 inches tall, estimated at $600-$800, sold for $67,000 in 2011. Image courtesy of I.M. Chait.

Carved rhinoceros horn figure of Guanyin atop a lotus base, 6 3/4 inches, estimated at $30,000-$50,000, sold for $232,000 in 2011. Image courtesy of I.M. Chait.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 December 2011 12:42

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