Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture, Paintings & Drawings, Silver
John Hays was appointed head of Christie's American Furniture and Decorative Arts department in January 1991 and was named senior vice president of the firm in January 1993. He joined the international auction house in 1983.
Since he has been a member of the department, Mr. Hays has played an important role in departmental innovations and record-setting sales. He counts among his most exciting achievements taking part in the sale of the Nicholas Brown Desk and Bookcase, which sold in 1989 for $12.1 million, the top price for any piece of American furniture. Other significant records include the first piece of American furniture to break the million dollar mark, a Philadelphia Chippendale tea table which sold in January 1986; the top price for a piece of 19th-century American furniture, a Lannuier neoclassical pier table which brought $704,000 in 1991, and the Richard Edward's Chippendale pier table which sold in January 1990 for $4.62 million, becoming the second most expensive piece of American furniture and a record for any table.
Mr. Hays, one of Christie's principal auctioneers, directed Christie's first Folk Art department from its creation in 1987 until 1990. A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Kenyon College, where he received his bachelor's degree in art history, Mr. Hays worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy and completed Christie's year-long Fine Arts Course in London before joining the firm in New York. He frequently lectures and participates in museum and charity events.