If one-of-a-kind antique and vintage finds make you weak in the knees, grab a chair. Master curator Joel Chen, celebrated industry-wide for his appreciation of fine furniture and decorative arts design, opened his first showroom, JF Chen, 40 years ago. Today, the Los Angeles emporium remains a shopping paradise for collectors and interior designers.
Featuring period and mid-century finds, the Highland Avenue showroom is a testament to Chen’s trendsetting aesthetic. Here, a treasure hunt might yield early modern design, emerging contemporary talent, as well as museum-quality works of art. If a pilgrimage to LA isn’t in your near future, consider scooping up an exclusive JF Chen-curated pick here at Sotheby’s Home.
“If I see a piece that I know is rare, I need to buy it — it could be decades before I find it again.”
— Joel Chen
Three-Seat Settee (Mid-19th Century)
The important and intriguing Biedermeier period between 1815 and 1848 celebrates simplicity of design and reflects the first modern European decorative style free of aristocratic influence.
A happy marriage of classical lines and fine mahogany wood infuses this Biedermeier armless settee with uncomplicated panache. A welcome addition to any living space, iconic Biedermeier furniture has been coveted by celebrities such as musician-collectors Elton John and Freddie Mercury because a settee, chair, or table can easily be mixed with Art Deco and funky, more informal contemporary pieces.
Some of Joel Chen’s personal celebrity clients include Jennifer Aniston and the Olsen Twins.
Temple Jars (19th Century)
Traditional Chinese ceramics, one of the globe’s oldest art-making traditions, is characterized by a decorative but understated style that optimizes always-relevant earth tones. Fine Chinese pottery and porcelain is cherished for its rich variety, technical mastery, and cultural achievement throughout China’s long history.
These antique vessels, a pair of famille verte temple jars with green Chinoiserie scenes, offer a contemporary aesthetic when mixed with traditional, modern, and transitional décor. Ceramic ginger jars with a Greek key pattern are especially at home in eclectic spaces, ready to adorn a fireplace mantel, dining room table, or foyer console.
Upholstered Armchair (19th Century)
Influenced by classic Italian art and defined by traditional, elegant details, Georgian antique furniture style is the namesake of Britain’s King George I, George II, and George III.
The regal walnut wood carvings of this Gainsborough library chair lend a masculine vibe, while jaunty Ikat upholstery infuses personality — perfect to decorate a den, study, or home office. The enduring style of Georgian furniture, along with its harmonious curves and exceptional beauty, stands ready to complement the living room of a castle or condominium. (Fun fact: Hollywood’s top directors and set designers scour JF Chen for authentic period furniture like this.)
Double Pedestal Partners Desk (Early-20th Century)
Reminiscent of the classical architecture of the UK during the early 19th century, classic Regency-style furniture offers a chic counterpoint to contemporary decorating. The Regency period is noteworthy because, as military expansion opened new frontiers, English people were introduced to the art and decorating styles of other cultures.
Perfect for a den, library, living room, or master bedroom, this Regency-style Chinoiserie partners desk is decorated with always-stylish bamboo detailing, green lacquered landscape scenes, and an embossed leather writing surface.
Yoruba Oba Beaded Crown (Circa 1900)
This indigenous African crown caught the eye of our editors because it acknowledges boundary-crossing artists’ remarkable contributions to the history of African art. The circa-1900 Yoruba Oba beaded ceremonial hat celebrates the richness of styles and the genius of African artisans.
The colorful fabric and organic beading of this traditional tribal crown elevate it to a piece of fine art – a soft sculpture worthy of a spot atop a pedestal or under glass. This one-of-a-kind decorative textile would be a fetching addition to an eclectic residential, business, or museum environment.
Shop the full JF Chen collection on Sotheby’s Home.