Deputy Chairman, Christie's International
As Deputy Chairman of Christie’s International, Charles Cator is responsible for maintaining and enhancing Christie’s business development opportunities throughout the country, as well as internationally. A renowned furniture specialist, Charles Cator is also Chairman of the Furniture and Decorative Arts Department, and has been with the company for forty-three years. Under his leadership, Christie’s set the current world auction record for any piece of traditional furniture - £19 million for the Badminton Cabinet in 2004, this broke the previous record of £8.5 million which the Badminton Cabinet had set fourteen years earlier in 1990. Charles has been directly involved with the sale of all ten of the top furniture lots ever sold at Christie’s internationally in London, Monaco/Paris and New York and has been closely involved with many landmark sales of major single-owner collections including The Collection of Hubert de Givenchy in 1993, through to the Collection of the Barons Nathaniel and Albert von Rothschild (1999), Works of Art from Longleat (2002), The Champalimaud Collection (2005), Wildenstein (2005), The Simon Sainsbury Collection (2008), The Spencer House Sale (2010) and both the first and second part of the Riahi Collection ( 2000/2012). He has worked closely on the highly successful annual various owner auction format introduced in 2008: The Exceptional Sale.
A keen historian, Charles is passionate about the history of collecting, not only in terms of academic research but particularly in working closely with colleagues in the Private Collections department and most importantly with collectors themselves; inspiring, nurturing and celebrating true connoisseurship. He is currently writing a definitive work on the furniture of William Ince and John Mayhew, in collaboration with Sir Hugh Roberts. He has also written a book in collaboration with David Linley and Helen Chislett, Star Pieces, publishing in 2009 which focuses on the links between modern and old in furniture and design.
Charles is a member of The International Council of The Wallace Collection and served as a Trustee/Director of The Cobbe Collection from 1991-2011. He is a Trustee of the Monument Trust and of The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust.
International Head of Masterpiece and Private Sales
As International Head, Masterpiece and Private Sales, and Head of the London annual Exceptional Sale, Amjad Rauf’s main focus is Decorative Arts Masterpieces, notably for sales in London, Paris and New York. Based in London, Amjad works closely with his Decorative Arts colleagues globally, as well as other Christie’s representatives, collaborating with them on matters of client relations, sourcing, valuations, curating and expertise. Responsible for Decorative Arts Private sales since 2014, Amjad staged the exhibition “Empire, curated by Hubert de Givenchy” in 2014, and “Expanding Horizons”, in 2021, focusing on the relation between Asian Contemporary Art and Classical Decorative Arts.
One of the most international members of Christie’s Decorative Arts team, Amjad is fluent in English, Dutch, German and French. He joined the department in London in 1995, and has since, in various capacities, worked on the sales of European Decorative Arts as well as key European and US Collections, such as the sale of the late Dr Anton Dreesmann in 2002 (£22,4 Million); The Champalimaud and Wildenstein Collections in 2005 (£39 Million and £21,9 Million), Taste of the Royal Court in 2016 (£ 6,7 Million) and the Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection in 2018 (£ 22 Million). A highly memorable moment in his career was the sale of the Badminton cabinet in 2004 (£19 Million), the most expensive piece of furniture ever sold at auction.
Head of European Furniture
Paul Gallois, Director, Head of European Furniture, has been based in London since 2015. Prior to this, he worked as a European Decorative Arts specialist in Christie’s New York in 2014 which was preceded by his training by renowned furniture expert and author Alexandre Pradère.
He now runs the sales of European Furniture and Works of Art at Christie’s London, working closely with the international Decorative Arts team with an important focus on expertise and research on European Furniture masterpieces. He has made important discoveries in this field such as the bureau de pente by Jacques Dubois delivered to Madame de Pompadour which sold in 2018 for £1,871,250 (against an estimate of £70,000-100,000) or the 18th century baron de Besenval provenance of a bureau plat and cartonnier from Marion Lambert collection in 2021.
In 2019, Paul Gallois headed the landmark sale, ‘Masterpieces from a Rothschild collection’, an international success selling for a total of £25,394,625 (against a pre-sale estimate of £8 to 12 million), including five lots of 18th century French furniture selling for over a million pounds.
Paul has a Law degree from the University Panthéon-Assas and also holds a degree in History of Art from the Sorbonne.
Head of Sale, Junior Specialist
Benjamin joined Christie’s Decorative Arts department as a Cataloguer in 2021 and has worked on the biannual Collector sales as well as contributing to the phenomenal success of the sale of the collection of Hubert de Givenchy in June 2022 and the London Exceptional Sale in July 2022. Enthused by history and research, Benjamin works primarily with the English, European, and 19th Century Furniture and Works of Art departments.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Classics and German from Oxford University and prior to joining Christie’s worked with museums and auction houses in the UK and Germany.
Alix joined Christie’s Decorative Arts department in May 2022 as a Junior Specialist working primarily with the English, European, and 19th Century Furniture and Works of Art departments.
Since joining she has worked on the Exceptional sales in London, Provenance Revealed: Galerie Steinitz and is co-head of the biannual Collector sale series in London.
Before joining Christie’s Alix was with another leading auction house in London for three years and prior to this worked for two years as an advisor to a private collector.
She holds an MA in Art History from the University of St Andrews with a particular focus on English and European Decorative Arts from Baroque to Art Nouveau. She was awarded the Trethowan scholarship for her undergraduate dissertation where her research was responsible for the re-attribution of two Broadwood & Sons decorated pianos housed in museums in London and Birmingham, historically attributed to the artist Edward Burne-Jones, to the lesser known female artist Kate Faulkner.
After graduation she moved to Italy where she completed the postgraduate certificate program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection with the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art. She also holds a Diploma in Art Profession Law and Ethics from the Institute of Art and Law in London.
Sale Coordinator, Decorative Arts
The Collector: London
Deputy Chairman, Senior International Specialist
Will Strafford, Senior International Specialist, European Furniture and Decorative Arts, has been based in New York since 2003 and was head of the European Furniture department from 2003-2012. Prior to that he ran the European Furniture sales in Christie’s King Street from 1999-2002 and worked as a European Furniture specialist in Christie’s New York from 1993-1999. The landmark sales he has worked on include Works of Art from the Wernher Collection (2000), the Collection of the Late Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild (2000, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection (2000), the Doris Duke Collection (2004), the Partridge and Segoura sales (2006) , the Van Cliburn Collection (2012), the Collection of Djahanguir Riahi (2012), the Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection (2018), and the Desmarais Collection (2019). Mr. Strafford has a degree in English and History of Art, and more than thirty years of experience in the auction business.
Csongor Kis has nearly twenty years of experience in the field of decorative arts, with a specialty in continental European furniture from the early Baroque to the mid-nineteenth century. He joined Christie’s European Furniture Department in New York in 2019, after working as a private adviser. Previously, he served for over a decade as assistant vice president and specialist in the European furniture and carpet departments at Sotheby’s in New York. Throughout his career, he played an instrumental role not only in various-owner sales but also in highly successful single-owner auctions, including those of Brooke Astor, Bunny Mellon, Lily and Edmond J. Safra, Patricia Kluge, Ann and Gordon Getty, Jayne Wrightsman, and Sydell Miller, among others. A native of Budapest, Hungary, Mr. Kis received his B.A. in art history from Bard College and his M.A. from the Bard Graduate Center in the History of Decorative Arts. In addition to his native Hungarian, Mr. Kis speaks Italian and German.
Head of European Furniture Department
After studies in law and history of art, Hippolyte de la Féronnière became head of sales in European Furniture and Works of Art at Drouot. On the strength of his seven years of experience in the art market he joined the Furniture department at Christies Paris in 2012.
Within the department, he has contributed to the sales of several exceptional collections, including that of Hélène Rochas (2012), Jean Louis Rémilleux at the Château de Digoine (2015), Boniface de Castellane - Anna Gould (2017), Alberto Pinto (2017) and the collection Juan de Beistegui (2018). His knowledge and expertise led to the discovery of a rare 18th century mirror in golden bronze whose value was previously unrecognised. After realising necessary research, Féronnière coordinated its sale at Christies, attaining 350 000 € for the owners. A further important discovery includes a desk of Jean-Henri Riesener from a French private collection, commissioned by the royal furniture store and acquired by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux. This piece of furniture will be reinstalled in its original place at Concorde in Paris.
Head of Sale – Cataloguer
Elisa Ober joined Christie’s in 2016 after obtaining a Masters 2 in History of Art at the Sorbonne and is a passionate lover of the Decorative Arts with a particular focus on French 18th century seat furniture. As a coordinator for Classic Art, Elisa contributed to the success of several prestigious collection sales including those of Alberto Pinto in 2017 and Juan de Beistegui in 2018. In 2022 she became a cataloguer in the Furniture and Works of Art department and contributed to the phenomenal success of the sale of the collection of Hubert de Givenchy in June 2022. In 2023 Elisa was appointed head of the biannual sale The Collector: Le Goût Français.
Passionnée par les arts décoratifs et tout particulièrement par la menuiserie en siège du XVIIIe siècle français, Elisa Ober rejoint Christie’s en 2016, après avoir obtenu un Master 2 en Histoire de l’Art à la Sorbonne. En tant que coordinatrice des départements d'art classique, Elisa participe notamment au succès de prestigieuses ventes de collections : Alberto Pinto en 2017, et Juan de Beistegui en 2018. Elle devient en 2022 catalogueuse au département Mobilier et Objets d’art, et contribue à l'exceptionnelle réussite de la vente de la collection Hubert de Givenchy en juin 2022. En 2023, Elisa prend la direction de la vente biannuelle The Collector : Le Goût Français.