By Carter B.
If you can’t have Audrey
Hepburn at the
top of your staircase making like a goddess of Samothrace, then
the next best thing may be Lot 306, a 36 ½-inch high Roman
marble statue of Diana, circa 2nd Century, A.D., that is being
offered in this major Antiquities auction at Christie’s,
June 13, 2000.
"The goddess of the hunt moving
forward with her right left advanced, wearing boots and a chitoniskos
belted below the breasts, the garment clinging to her body from
the motion, with crinkly folds billowing to the sides, a mantle
draped over her left shoulder, flowing behind and over a portion
of the tree stump support, the now-missing head originally
and pinned in place," the catalogue entry noted.
The graceful sculpture was
formerly in the
collection of the André Emmerich Gallery in New York and
has a very conservative estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It
sold for $64,625 including the buyer's premium as do as results
in this article.
It is far more attractive and
some much-higher estimated sculptures such as Lots 292, 299 and
305, which are good but not as romantic.
Lot 292 is a late Hellenistic
statue of the
Muse Erato, 72 inches high, circa 1st Century B.C. "Erato
was the Muse of lyric poetry or hymns, identified by her
a work of the late Hellenistic Period, this fine statue recalls
earlier Greek sculpture of the 4th Century B.C.," the catalogue
noted. The full-figure sculpture, which has quite a serene countenance,
has an "estimate on request." It sold for $1,656,000
to a European dealer.
Lot 299 is a late Hellenistic
or Roman marble
figure of Aphrodite, 55 ½ inches high, circa 1st Century
B.C.-1st Century A.D., that is one of many works in the auction
that were once in the collection of Dr. Elie Borowski. Christie’s
is selling a large selection of Ancient Greek Vases that were
formerly part of Dr. Borowski’s collection in an evening
auction, Monday, June 12, 2000. Dr. Borowski was a scholar, collector
and connoisseur of ancient art and was for a time a curator at
the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and his collection would eventually
form the core of the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem. The works being
put up at auction were sold about 10 years ago by Dr. Borowski
to "pave the way for the building of the Bible Lands Museum."
The catalogue notes that "this beautiful marble sculpture
strongly recalls the pose and proportions of the so-called ‘Capitoline
Venus…The top of the head above the center part, the noise,
the right leg from below the knee and the left leg from mid calf
are modern restorations." The lot, which is both the cover
and the back-cover illustrations of the catalogue, also has an
"estimate on request." It sold for $1,986,000 to
an American private collector.
Lot 305 is a Roman marble
figure of Apollo,
46 ½ inches high, circa late 1st Century B.C.-early 2nd
Century A.D. It has an estimate of $125,000 to $175,000. It
sold for $160,000 to an American dealer.
The sale was quite
successful with 87 percent
of the offered lots selling for a total of $7,888,083, as compared
to Christie's auction the previous night of Greek Vases that totalled
$7,053,906 and sold a very impressive 93 percent of the offered
lots. The combined, two-day total of $14.9 million was the "most
successful season total for antiquities in Christie's history,"
the auction house announced.
For those who admire portrait
busts, Lot 304,
a Roman marble portrait of a man, Roman Republic, circa mid 1st
Century B.C., is quite striking and in fine condition. This 13
¾-inch high work was once in the collection of the Earl
of Lonsdale, Lowther Castle, Westmoreland, and has a conservative
estimate of $60,000 to $90,000. It sold for $58,750.
Lot 325 is a less appealing but
Roman portrait bust of a man holding a snake, circa 2nd Century
A.D. It has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It sold for
For those who disdain bronze,
Lot 421 is a
late Hellenistic or Roman gold statuette of a goddess wearing
a sleeveless chiton and holding a spouted libation vessel in her
right hand. The 1 ¾-inch-high work has an estimate of $30,000
to $40,000. It failed to sell.
Many of the more impressive or
in the this auction come from other cultures.
Among the Egyptian pieces of
sculptures are Lots 218, 219, and 245. Lot 218 is a New Kingdom
rose granite head of a nobleman, Dynasty XIX-XX, 1290-1070 B.C.,
that is 5 ¼ inches high and missing only part of his chin
and lower left jaw. The work was formerly in the of Amenhotep
III, 1403-1365. The face of the lion-headed goddess is in excellent
condition and the lot is conservatively estimated at $100,000
to $150,000. It was withdrawn.
Lot 245 is a Ptolemaic diorite
Pekher-Khonsu, 13 ½ inches high, circa 3rd Century B.C.
This handsome work of a seated god is missing its hands and the
naos and its legs, but is quite impressive and has an estimate
of $90,000 to $120,000. It failed to sell.
There are numerous other nice
A quite sweet gilt cartonnage
mummy mask, Roman
Period, circa 1st Century B.C.,-1st Century A.D., is offered as
Lot 228. The 13-inch-high mask that is decorated with polychrome
over gesso, had a gilded face and is very pleasant and has a modest
estimate of $4,000 to $6,000. It sold for $11,162.
Lot 233 is a Late Period bronze
Imhotep, 4 ¾ inches high, Dynasty XXX, 380-343 B.C. and
shows Imhotep holding a papyrus scroll in front of a kneeling
worshiper and two couchant lions. The bronze has a light green
patina and an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for
From the same dynasty is Lot
242 is a Late
Period inlaid bronze head of Osiris, 3 ½ inches high, that
has an atef-crown with feathers inlaid with
strips of turquoise and lapis colored glass and eyes inlaid with
mosaic glass with turquoise rims. The lot has a conservative estimate
of $5,000 to $7,000. It sold for $11,162.
Many of the auction’s better
from the Near East.
Lot 439 is a fearsome Bactrian
or East Iranian
black chlorite mythological figure, 4 ¼ inches high, circa
2200 B.C. The
In contrast to the former lot’s
Lot 440 is a Bactrian stone female statuette whose depicted person
is rather stoic and a bit sad. The 3 14-inch-high statue of dark
steatite or chlorite for the body and white calcite for the head,
is circa late 3rd Millennium B.C. The body is clad in a voluminous
garment with rows of pointed tongues and incised folds, with a
V-shaped neckline in back. The lot has an estimate of $20,000
to $30,000. It sold for $23,000.
Lot 443 is a Syrian white stone
lion, 4 ½
inches long, circa 3100-2900 B.C. of great charm. It has a conservative
estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 446 is a group of 20 Near
weights, circa Late 2nd-Early 1st Millennium, B.C. the very graceful
oval forms with the animals’ heads resting in the center
of their backs, are Assyrian, Babylonian and Achaemenid and the
largest is only 1 ¼ inches long. The estimate for the lot
is $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $11,750.
For those who collect animal
448 will be hard to lose as it is an exquisite Middle Elamite
banded agate lion, 2 ¼ inches long, circa 12th Century
B.C. A related work is in the Louvre. It has an estimate of $6,000
to $8,000. It sold for $82,250!
There are three excellent
Luristan works, Lot
486, 487 and 488. The first is a bronze votive plaque, 7 ¼
inches high, circa mid 2nd Millennium B.C., from the Ishiguro
Collection. The relief depicts two heroes battling animals and
has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $9,987.
The second is a bronze situla, 5 inches high, circa 10th-9th Century
B.C., with a frieze depicted a bearded nobleman seated on a throne
with one attendant fanning him and another perhaps playing a stringed
instrument. The lot has an estimate of $12,000 to $15,000. It
sold for $18,800. The third is a bronze pin, 10 ½ inches
long, circa 9th-8th Century B.C., with two large ibexes at one
end with a lion approaching them along the pin’s shaft. This
was formerly in the collection of Dr. Elie Borowski and has a
conservative estimate of $2,000 to $3,000. It sold for $8,812.
Two Sassanian bowls, Lots 511
and 513, are
very impressive. The former is 6 13/16 inches in diameter and
comes from the collection of Dr. Elie Borowski. The bowl, which
is circa 4th-6th Century, A.D., has a central medallion with a
large eagle surrounded by eight s smaller bird medallions. It
has a conservative estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold
for $44,650. The latter is a parcel gilt silver elliptical
bowl, 8 inches long, circa 6th-7th Century A.D. It is decorated
with a repoussé figure of a dancing woman wearing a tightly-fitted
long sleeved garment of diaphanous material that reveals her breasts
and navel. She holds an apple in one hand and a mirror in another.
The catalogue notes that there is "extensive debate"
over the identification of the goddess, ranging from an image
of Anahita, a pre-Zoroastrian goddess of fertility to a follower
of Dionysos to a personification of the seasons. An ewer in the
Arthur B. Sackler Gallery has three similar figures. The lot has
an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for only $28,200.
This auction has a large and
Lot 566 has some very nice
Lot 567, for example, has three such amulets. It has an estimate
of $2,000 to $3,000, and sold for $3,025.
Lot 577 is a very good Near
cylinder seal, 2 ½ inches high, circa 3rd Millennium B.C.,
that is deeply engraved with a stylized bull and an ibex and surmounted
by a handle in the form of an ibex. It has a conservative estimate
of $1,000 to $1,500. It sold for $8,225.