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Melissa Gagen is a recognized decorative arts professional with over thirty years of experience at Christie’s and Sotheby's.  In her position as Senior Vice President / International Specialist in the European Furniture Department at Christie's, she played a principal role in the research, sale and marketing of high profile institutional and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago and the estates of Doris Duke and David Rockefeller.  She has overseen the sale of thousands of objects in all price ranges, some which achieved world record prices.  Throughout her auction career, she composed fully researched catalogue entries, and valuations for auction, insurance, and estate tax purposes, as well as comprehensive inventory listings for top-level collectors, with a specialist focus on English furniture. Collectors, dealers, curators and designers rely upon her expertise, knowledge of the art market and discretion. 


Melissa established her own appraisal and design business in 2017.  Aside from working on her own appraisal projects - providing comprehensive appraisals and working with top specialists in all fields - she also provides valuations for major insurance companies, banks and art advisory firms.  She has extensive specialist contacts in all areas of the art market, shippers, storage facilities  and conservators for all mediums.


  • Mario Buatta Estate inventory – engaged to catalogue the furniture and objects in this iconic designer’s personal collection.

  • Charitable donation appraisals for important European and American objects gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum and a historic house trust, respectively

  • Comprehensive estate appraisals / inventory listings for collections in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, California and North Carolina

  • Insurance and loss / damage appraisals, including a Pierre Hotel residence; projects on behalf of major insurance companies including a Canadian assignment.


  • Vetting Committee, The Winter Show, New York (2020-2022) - English furniture 

  • Certified member, Appraisers Association of America

  • Vice President and Board Member, American Friends of Attingham (2007-2019)

  • Lecturer and tour leader to various groups - including a presentation to the Appraiser's Association of America annual symposium (2011) on decorative art market trends.

  • Leader / planner of a three-day tour on behalf of Christie's (2007) with exclusive access to several iconic country houses in Scotland including Dumfries House.

  • Ongoing participant in lectures, tours and symposiums in the United Kingdom, Continental Europe and United States

  • Member, Furniture History Society, Chippendale Society, French Porcelain Society, Society for the History of Collecting


  • University of Virginia, B.A. in Economics​

  • Attingham Trust, London (1990s-2020s), internationally recognized travel study programs for art professionals, including museum curators, conservators, architects, historians and others. She has completed Attingham courses for the study of the British Country House, British Royal Collection, French Decorative Arts, and Study Weeks in Rome, Naples and the Czech Republic.  

  • Winterthur Institute, Wilmington, Delaware (October 2019).  American Decorative Arts study program.

  • Inchbald School of Interior Design, London (Summer 2017).  Certificate program.

  • Appraiser's Association of America - USPAP Certification

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