By Carter B. Horsley
This Antiquities auction at
9, 2004 is highlighted by some marvelous very early works including
a sensational Early Bronze Age marble figure of a goddess, a superb
and abstract Syrian calcite figure of a ram, a charming Cypriot
terracotta sculpture of a horse and rider, a great Egyptian harpoon
pendant, and some stunning Roman portrait busts.
The marble figure of a goddess,
Lot 223, is
dated circa 3300 to 2500 B.C. and is 6 1/4 inches high. It is
property of the Collection of Gustave and Franyo Schindler and
once was in the collection of J. J. Klejman of New York. It is
of the Kiliya type. The catalogue notes that it is "of highly
stylized form with finely incised detail on the slender lozenge-shaped
body, wing-like arms each with shallow ridge on the inside, cylindrical
neck, rounded shoulders, and asymmetrical ellipsoid head with
broad crested forehead, diminutive domed eyes, narrow keel-shaped
nose, and delicately carved ears." The catalogue adds that
a "closely related example" is included in the book"
"Glories of the Past: Ancient Art from the Leon Levy and
Shelby White Collection" (New York, 1990) and that that figure
is "said to have been found, together with the present figure
and the electrum figure (Lot 224), near Kirshir in Central Anatolia."
This work was included in an exhibition of the Schindler collection
at the Museum of Primitive Art in New York in 1966. What is remarkable
about this figure is that the head is posed perpendicular to the
body. Although the neck is discolored, this small sculpture is
breathtakingly abstract and a global treasure. It has a modest
estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $764,000
the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.
Also from the Schindler
collection is the smaller
electrum figure that is very similar. It is 1 9/16 inches high
and also comes from J. J. Klejman. It has an estimate of $20,000
to $30,000. Lot 224, it sold for $57,000.
The Schindlers also had a tall
and very elegant
Cycladic marble figure of a goddess, Lot 230, also from the Early
Bronze Age II, circa 2700-2600 B.C. It is of the Kapsala type
and was also included in the exhibition at the Museum of Primitive
Art in 1966 as well as in an exhibition in 1987-8 that was held
at the Virigina Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, the Kimbell Art
Museum in Fort Worth, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
This sculpture is 9 1/2 inches high and has a modest estimate
of $50,000 to $80,000. Cycladic works are not as rare as the Anatolian
pieces. It sold for $142,400.
early and fine work
is Lot 329, a Syrian calcite figure of a ram that is dated late
4th/3rd Millennium B.C. It is 12 1/2 inches long and its charm
was enhanced at the auction exhibition by having the ribbon for
the lot-number hung around its neck, conjuring images of Danielle
Bianchi in the James Bond movie, "From Russia With Love,"
which is not to suggest that the actress looked like a ram but
the ribbon collar, which is usually distracting, adds considerable
allure and charm. This lot has a conservative estimate of $8,000
to $12,000. It sold for $21,600.
Another stunning early work
that also was once
in the J. J. Klejman collection is Lot 238, a Cypriot terracotta
figure of a horse and rider. Dated circa 7th Century B.C., it
is 7 7/16 high and the catalogue notes that is has been restored.
The tall mane of the horse is particularly striking and this lot
has a modest estimate of $1,500 to $2,500. Much of the Cypriot
art on exhibit in New York is rather clumsy and uninteresting
but this is a fine and delightful piece. It sold for $1,920.
Lot 247 is an excellent
Sardinian bronze figure
of a warrior that is dated circa 9th/7th Century B.C. The 6
figure has his right hand raised in what the catalogue states
is a "prayerful gesture," and holds a bow on his left
shoulder with a quiver of his back. He is wearing sandals and
has a square breastplate hand from his shoulders and is wearing
a crested helmet with a large plume. The figure has great
and character and an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold
Lot 305 is an excellent lower
half of the head
of a king that is Egyptian, 18th Dynasty, reign of Tuthmosis
II, 1479-1400 B.C. The basalt head is only 4 inches high and 7
1/2 inches deep but has a nice monumentality. It is particularly
striking because its top appears to have been sliced off horizontally
just above the lower eyelids. According to the catalogue entry
for the lot, it is "from a sphinx, wearing the nemes-headcloth.
It has a modest estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for
Lot 317 is a marvelous Egyptian
pendant that is dated Late Period, 716-30 B.C. The 4 1/4-inch-high
pendant has a ribbed harpoon supported on theback of a crocodile
and surmounted by a falcon head wearing a striated tripartite
wig with uraeus and the head is crowned by a falcon wearing the
sun-disk with uraeus. The finely modeled piece has an estimate
of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $8,400.
is an Egyptian steatite
figure of Pe-shery-aset from the 26th Dynasty, Period of Psamtik
I/Necho II, 664-595 B.C. The finely modeled statue is 9 13/16
inches high and was exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art from
October 18, 1960 to January 9, 1961. The mummy and coffin of
are in the Museo Civico di Archeologia Ligure in Genoa. The back
of the statue has a long inscription. It has an estimate of $60,000
to $90,000. It sold for $176,000.
is an Egyptian granite
block statue of a man, 19th Dynasty, Reign of Ramesses II, 1279-1213
B.C. The 12 3/8-inch-high statue depicts the man seated on rounded
base with his handsemerging from his enveloping cloak and crossed
over his knees and holding a lettuce in his right hand. The naos
before him is carved with the ram head of the god Amun-Ra surmounted
by a uraeus and sun-disk and each side of the naos engraved with
a standing divine figure, Mut on the right and Khonsu on the left.
The work was deaccessioned from the Cairo Museum between 1905
and 1906 and was formerly in the collections of Vladimir Gregorievitch
Simkhovitch and William Randolph Hearst. It was excavated under
the supervision of French archaeologist Georges Legrai on April
9, 1905 from a trench in the courtyard of the seventh pylon in
the great temple at Karnak. It has soft modeling and an ambitious
estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. This lot is the
illustration of the catalogue. It failed to sell.
is a charming Egyptian
alabaster flask with handles of confronted standing vervet monkeys
resting their forepaws on the edge of the rim. It is dated 18th
Dynasty, Period of Tuthmosis III, 1479-1426 B.C., and is 5 15/16
inches high. The catalogue notes that "vessels including
monkeys in their decoration were particularly popular from Dynasty
XVII through the reigh of Tuthmosis III," adding that "Vervets
(grivets, or African green monkeys) were no longer indigenous
by the time this vase was carved, and were imported from Nubia,
and also subsequently exported to other lands. The lot has an
estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. It sold for $30,000.
is a group of six faience
and lapis lazuli Egyptian objects, Ptolemaic Period, 305-30 B.C.,
and later. The nicest object is a very fine pale olive green faience
amulet of striding ram-headed Khnum wearing a pleated kilt and
striated tripartite wig. The lot has an estimate of $6,000 to
$8,000. It sold for $7,200.
This auction has a superb
collection of Roman
works, highlighted by Lot 280, a Roman Imperial marble portrait
bust of a woman, reign of Trajan, circa 100-110 A.D. The 23-inch-high
bust is exquisite and was once in the collection of Cavallieri
Cesare and Ercole Canessa and was exhibited at the Panama-Pacific
International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. The Canessa
catalogues identified the sitter as Julia Iti, daughter of the
Emperor Titus, but this auction catalogue notes that Hans Jucker
"has since doubted this identifiction based on the fact that
the facial features resemble neither Julia's coin portraits or
her best known and most securely identified marble portrait head
in the Terme Museum. The Canessa brothers were dealers in antiquities,
coins, European works of art and Old Master paintings. This lot
has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It sold for $820,000.
Lot 281 is a fine Roman
Imperial marble portrait
bust of Empress Faustina the Younger. The 15 3/8-inch-high bust
is dated circa 161-180 A.D., and has an estimate of $125,000 to
$175,000. The sitter was the daughter of Antonius Pius and wife
of Marcus Aurelius and the mother of their twin boys, Commodus
and Fulvus Antonius. It sold for $176,000.
Lot 261 is a large marble
statue of Aphrodite
that has her head and is 32 1/8 inches high. A Roman Imperial
figure, it is dated 2nd half of the 2nd Century A.D. It was once
in the collection of Count Antoine Doré de Nion, who acquired
it in Rome, circa 1840 and the consignor acquired it in 1989 from
the Merrin Gallery in New York. The catalogue notes that this
statue was reportedly excavated along with a bronze head in the
area of the Forum of Caesar, presumably adjacent to the temple
The catalogue provides the
"It has been suggested, partly
of the reported findspot, that this figure represents the empress
Faustina deified as Aphrodite, and that she originally formed
part of a group with her husband Commodus depicted as Mars....When
depicted in the guise of Aphrodite women of the Imperial house
would not normally be allowed to appear nude...while private
especially in the 2nd Century, were often memorialized in this
way....Also, an under-lifesize marble figure of a deified empress
would be unusual, since statues of this type are usually either
lifesize or larger....The hairstyle does not match any particular
type of Roman coiffure and cannot be readily dated, unlike the
highly specific and elaborate hairstyle of the original Aphrodite
of Knidos....In the end, this figure, with its attenuated extremities
andother subtle mannerisms, such as the hairstyle and earlobes
drilled for earrings, stands perfectly well on its own as a
Antonine interpretation of the Aphrodite of Knidos."
It has an estimate of $300,000
It sold for $596,000.
While its condition is not as
fine as the busts
in Lots 280 and 281, the Roman marble portrait head of a man,
Lot 282, is very strong. Dated Late Republican, circa 50-25 B.C.,
it is over life-size and 12 inches high. It has a modest estimate
of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold for $27,000.
The cover illustration of the
is Lot 284, a Roman Imperial bronze portrait head of Ptolemy of
Mauretania, Julio-Claudian. Dated circa 5-20 A.D., it is 7 inches
high. The catalogue provides the following commentary: "Grandson
of Anthony and Cleopatra, Ptolemy of Mauretania was the last known
descendant of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Born between 19 and 14 B.C.,
his mother was Cleopatra Selene and father Juba II, a native-born
Mauretanian king. Ptolemy ruled jointly with his father after
A.D. 21 and became sole ruler after his father's death circa A.D.
23/24. As a client king of Rome he was first criticized for failing
to assist Roman generals in their repeated attempts to quell the
rebellionof Tacfarinas; Tacitus says of Ptolemy that his youth
first made him 'negligent'...of the affairs of the state..., but
that his subsequent active military support won him Rome's gratitude."
In 40 A.D., he visited Rome at the behest of Emperor Caligula
who then had him executed when he noticed that he attracted a
lot of attention at a gladiatorial show by the splendor of his
purple cloak. The impressive lot has an estimate of $300,000 to
$500,000. It sold for $960,000.
Lot 269 is a charming
Hellenistic marble statue
of Aphrodite that is dated circa 2nd/1st Century B.C. The headless
statue is missing its left forearm and is 16 1/2 inches high.
It has an estimate of $12,000 to $18,000. It sold for $42,000.
Lot 249 is a very impressive
of Zeus that is Late Hellenistic or Early Roman Imperial, circa
2nd half of the 1st Century B.C./early 1st Century A.D. The statue
is 9 11/16 inches high and is missing its right forearm. It was
once in the Fleischman Collection in New York and has been exhibited
at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco in 1982
and at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum
of Art and Museum of Fine Arts in Boston between 1988 and 1989.
The statue is inspired by Greek sculpture and formerly held a
scepter in the raised left hand and the missing right hand once
held a thunderbolt. "Bronze figures of Zeus or Poseidon in
the Roman Period," the catalogue noted, "are highly
eclectic in style. The present figure, for instance, combines
5th Century B.C. Polycleitan features, such as the musculature
and posture, with later 4th Century traits like the upswept locks
of hair over the forehead."
The lot has an estimate of
$150,000 to $250,000.
It sold for $164,800.