Personal Best: Lewis Wexler


When I first heard “Lewis Wexler, owner of the Wexler Gallery in Old City, former assistant vice president at Christie’s, ­expert on 20th-century decorative arts,” I pictured something else. Something, well, stiff: cuff links, tightly laced Italian shoes, milquetoast of a handshake. Wrong. Wexler is more hip, approachable design guy than effete art snob. The kind of man who, just after filling you in on how poison sumac is involved in lacquering Japanese ceramics, readily cops to a fondness for really small cell phones. He’s quick, too, to share an unabashed enthusiasm for his adopted city. (He and his wife emigrated 10 years ago from Manhattan.) Among other raves, he says, “I don’t know of any other city where you can find so much variety in decorative arts in such a limited geographic location.” Here, a study of his personal tastes.

Home

The house: 1925 Dutch Colonial in Bala Cynwyd.
Most-used piece of furniture: Joe ­Colombo swivel chair from the 1960s. “It’s in our dining room/playroom area. My son loves to sit in it and spin around.”
In the bedroom: Nightstands from Mexico; French Provençal armoire; ­Oriental rugs.
On the walls: James VanDerZee portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat: “I worked with Basquiat’s sister at Christie’s”; Jacques Sturges photograph.
Favorite collection: Ethnographic masks and textiles. “An African mask from Gabon was the first piece my wife and I purchased. Now every anniversary we buy something together.”

Fashion

Gallery uniform: Black turtleneck sweater, black pants, black shoes. “I’m a black guy. Unfortunately, with a golden retriever there are a lot of blond hairs.”
Dress shirts: PINK.
Shoes: TSUBO, Cole Haan.
Style transformation: “My uniform used to be jeans, cowboy boots, denim shirt, leather biker jacket and a hoop earring. I was an ’80s guy. My wife straightened me out.”
Watch: Patek Philippe Aquanaut. “You can judge someone by the kind of watch they wear; it’s an insight into their style.”

Lifestyle

Book in progress: Lord Duveen biography. “He was art dealer to Carnegie, Mellon, and all the American industrialists.”
Recent vacation: Ritz-Carlton in Puerto Rico. “It was our first vacation in four years.”
Skin care: Dr. Hauschka, Kiehl’s. “I guess that makes me a metrosexual.”
Cell phone: Samsung camera/video phone. “I change cell phones every six months.”
Stereo: Bang & Olufsen. “Once a design whore, always a design whore.”