Art/Auctions logo

Antiquities

Sotheby's

10:15 AM, Dec 10, 1999

Roman bronze figure of Herakles

Lot 260, bronze figure of the Farnese Herakles, Roman Imperial,

circa 2nd Century, A.D., 11 1/4 inches

By Carter B. Horsley

Small bronze statues are the joy of many collectors as they are manageable in size and usually price. Mid-size works, however, are rarer and often of much higher quality and price.

Lot 260, shown above, is just such an example. A bronze figure of the Farnese Herakles, Roman Imperial, circa 2nd Century A.D., it is 11 1/4 inches high and magnificently carved and in wonderful condition. It is based on the Greek original of the 4th Century B.C. that was attributed to Lysippos. That statue, the catalogue notes, was described by A. Stewart in "Greek Sculpture," New Haven and London, 1990, as follows: "Both a culmination and a fresh start, this statue constitutes the definitive statement of the ethos and arete of Herakles as conceived by the late classic, yet in the studied rhetoric of its drama and pathos it announces the more circumstantial concerns of the Hellenistic age." It has a conservative estimate of $70,000 to $100,000. It sold for $107,000 including the buyer's premium as do all prices in this article.

Lot 316 is a large, finely carved bronze figure of a boy, Roman Imperial, circa late 1st Century, B.C./1st Century, A.D. The 20 5/8-inch-tall work is in fine condition except for its missing arms and it has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It failed to sell.

Among the smaller bronze are several nice pieces such as Lot 401 and 408. The former is a Roman bronze figure of Eros-Harpocrates, circa 1st Century, A.D. It is 2 13/16 inches high and depicts the god with his forefinger held to his mouth and a cornucopia cradled in his left arm. It has an estimate of only $1,200 to $1,800. It sold for $2,185. The latter lot consists of two Roman bronzes, circa 1st/3rd Century, A.D., one of Fortuna holding a rudder and cornucopia and the other of Herakles. The works are 3 3/8 inches high and the lot has an estimate of only $1,200 to $1,800. It sold for $2,588.

Among the Egyptian bronzes, Lot 222 is a standout. It depicts the god Amun and is dated 22nd Dynasty, 944-716 B.C. The very finely carved sculpture is 4 3/8 inches high and one of his eyes has obsidian inlay and the head has traces of gilding on the crown. It has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold for $11,500.

Egyptian bronze figure of a king

Lot 224, Egyptian bronze figure of a king, 20/25th Dynasty,

1190-656 B.C., 9 3/8 inches high

Lot 224, which is the cover illustration of the catalogue, is a bronze figure of a king, 20th/25th Dynasty, 1190-656 B.C. The 9 3/8-inch high statue probably personifies the Soul of Pe, according to the catalogue, and is kneeling on one knee with his left hand raised in salutation and right hand held to his chest. He is wearing the nemes-headcloth with queue behind and the entire surface except for the recessed areas covered with small incisions probably for the application of gesso, gilding and polychrome. The work comes from the collection of Roger Fernand Galliano and had been brought to France by the Napleonic Expedition Collection of a French noble family. The lot has a conservative estimate o $40,000 to $50,000. It sold for $71,250.

Lot 437 is a charming bronze statue of Bastet, 26th Dynasty, 664-525 B.C., showing the cat-headed goddess striding on a small base with two kittens seated in front. The 7 9/16-inch-high work has a very conservative estimate of $1,000 to $1,500 and is being sold by a Canadian private collection to benefit Concordia University in Montreal. It sold for $5,175.

Greek terra-cotta of dancing woman

Lot 308, Greek terra-cotta figure of dancing woman, Boeotia,

circa mid-4th Century, B.C., 9 1/2 inches high

Among the most desirable works of antiquity are the Greek Tanagra figures of women in draped costumes. Lot 308 is an exquisite example. The dancing terracotta figure, Boeotia, circa mid 4th Century, is 9 1/2-inches high. It has a conservative estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold for more than $29,000. Lot 309 is another such figure, albeit not in such a dynamic pose, 3rd Century, B.C., and it has an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000. It sold fo $6,325.

Lot 313 is a very nice Roman bronze figure of Lar, circa 1st/early 2nd Century, A.D. The charming, 6 1/2-inch-high figure is in very good condition and has an estimate of $7,000 to $10,000. It failed to sell.

Lot 248 is a marble head of the Capitoline Aphrodite, Roman Imperial, circa 1st Century, A. D. The impressive 14 1/2-inch-high sculpture has an ambitious high estimate of $300,000 and is not as charming as Lot 261, a marble head of Dionysos of the same period. Lot 261 is 11 1/2 inches high and has an estimate of only $60,000 to $90,000 and was "ultimately inspired by the Apollo Lykeios by Praxiteles. Lot 248 sold for $662,500 and Lot 261 sold for $63,000.

A highlight of the Western Asiatic antiquities is Lot 320, a Basalt House God Figure, Chalcolithic, 4th Millennium, B.C. This 13 3/8-inch-high sculpture of zoomorphic form with flaring cylindrical body and large hooked nose and protruding globular eyes is a powerful work and has a conservative estimate of $7,000 to $10,000. It sold for $8,625.

Lots 321 and 322 are Mesopotamian duck weights, circa early 2nd Millenium B.C. The former is a sandstone sculpture, 15 3/4 inches long, and has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. The latter is a stone sculpture of very similar form, 10 3/4 inches long and has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. Both lots failed to sell.

Sabean figures in alabaster have become very popular with collectors in recent years and this auction offers two interesting examples. Lot 331 is a stele from Southern Arabia, circa 1st Century B.C./1st Century, A.D., 19 inches high. It is carved in shallow relief with the figure of a man with his hands resting on his abdomen. He is wearing bracelets and has garnet-inlaid eyes and a bronze pendant with a rosette motif is suspended beside his head. The lot has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $112,500. Lot 332 is a more conventional Sabean piece, a bust of a woman from the same period as Lot 331. It has a sweeter and less primitive visage than most such works and has a conservative estimate of $7,000 to $10,000. It sold for $14,950.

Snake-thread beaker

Lot 350, snake-thread beaker, circa 2nd/3rd Century, A.D.,

8 11/16 inches high

Lot 350, shown above, is an extraordinary pale-green glass, snake-thread beaker, circa 2nd/3rd Century, A.D., 8 11/16 inches high. The design is quite fantastic and marvelous and abstract and the lot has a conservative estimate of $50,000 to $70,000. It failed to sell.

See The City Review on the Dec. 8, 1999 evening auction of Ancient Jewelry at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Antiquities auction at Christie’s Dec. 9, 1999

See The City Review article on the Dec. 9, 1999 antiquities evening auction at Sotheby's of the Christos G. Bastis Collection

See The City Review article on the June 5, 1999 Antiquities Auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 1998 Antiquities auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1998 Antiquities auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 1997 Antiquities auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1997 Antiquities auction at Sotheby's

 

Home Page of The City Review