By Carter B. Horsley
The Antiquities auction at
Sotheby's June 5,
2008 is highlighted by a great Late Hellenistic or Early Roman
Imperial bronze figure of a goddess, a lovely Hellenistic silver
figure of Apollo, an Early Bronze Age I Cycladic marble figure
of a man, some very good Roman marble busts, and several fine
Egyptian works of art.
The cover illustration of the
Lot 28, the Late Hellenistic or Early Roman Imperial bronze figure
of a goddess, circa 1st Century B.C./1st Century A.D. The very
graceful and elegant bronze is 20 3/4 inches high and probably
depicts Tyche. The work was acquired by Christos G. Bastis in
1982 from the Merrin Gallery in New York and sold at Sotheby's
in New York December 9, 1999 for $321,500 including the buyer's
premium when it had an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. The goddess
is in excellent condition except for missing arms. It was on loan
to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1982 to 1990. It has an
estimate in this auction of $500,000 to $800,000. The catalogue
notes that the piece was once owned by Claude Anet (1868-1931),
the penname for Jean Schoepfer. Mr. Anet was the author of Mayerling.
It sold for $602,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results
mentioned in this article.
The sale was very
successful with 115 of
the 124 offered lots selling for $8,933,001, significantly exceeding
the sale's pre-sale high estimate, without premiums, of $6,200,000.
Richard Keresy and Florent Heintz of the Antiquities department,
said after the sale that "we saw incredible demand across
all sectors," adding that "more than 75 percent went
over their high estimates," a quite incredible result.
Lot 22 is a Hellenistic silver
Apollo, circa Late 2nd/early 1st Century B.C. The catalogue notes
that the 4-inch-high statue is "probably a portrait of a
Hellenistic prince in the guise of the god, perhaps Mithradates
VI Eupator of Pontus, or his son Ariarthes IX Eusebes Philopator
of Cappadocia," adding that his extended right hand holds
a bow and his left hand holds a drinking horn. There is considerable
encrustation along the right arm but the figure has great grace.
The lot was offered at Sotheby's December 9, 2001 with an estimate
of $90,000 to $120,000 and failed to sell. At this auction it
has a modest estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It was at one time
with Robin Symes Ltd., in London and included in an 1999 exhibition
at his New York gallery. It sold for $74,500.
Another exquisite work from
about the same
period is Lot 38, a small chalcedony portrait head of a deified
queen or empress. The catalogue dates it as Hellenistic/Early
Roman Imperial, circa 2nd Century B.C./1st Century A.D., and states
that there is a closely related example in the Getty Museum. This
lot, which is only 1 15/16 inches high, has an estimate of $400,000
to $600,000. It sold for $962,500.
A larger but still quite small
head of an old
woman in marble is remarkably dynamic in its expressiveness. Dating
to the Roman Imperial Period circa 1st Century A.D., it is 4 1/2
inches high and at one time was in the collection of Dr. Herman
Vollmer of New York who had acquired it in Rome before 1940. The
work has been widely published and has an estimate of $40,000
to $60,000. It sold for $92,500.
Lot 39 is a very handsome
marble portrait of
a woman that is Roman, Late Republican/Early Augustan, 2nd half
of the 1st Century, B.C. It is 9 3/4 inches high and has a modest
estimate of $60,000 to $90,000. It is finely sculpted with a very
expressive face. It sold for $374,500.
Lot 32 is a very impressive
marble head of
Serapis Ammon, Roman Imperial, circa 2nd half of the 2nd Century,
A.D. It is 13 1/4 inches high and is based ona Hellenistic protreaype
of the 2nd Century B.C. There is a related head in the Cairo Museum.
The lot was once in the collection of Georges and Ludmilla Anghelopoulo
of Beirut, Paris, and Kitzbuhel who had acquired it prior to 1948
from Elie Boustros of Beirut. It has a modest estimate of $50,000
to $80,000. It sold for $182,500.
Lot 16 is a very nice, headless
marble figure of Aphrodite that is dated Hellenistic, circa 2nd/1st
Century B.C. It is 17 3/16 inches high. It has a modest estimate
of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $68,500.
Lot 13 is an 11 1/2-inch-high
of a man, Cycladic, Early Bronze Age I, circa 3200-2700 B.C. It
has an estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000. It sold for
Lot 49 is a very fine Egyptian
of Rameses IX, 20 th Dynasty, 1131-1112 B.C. It is 12 1/8 inches
high and has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for
is a very fine bronze
statue of Neith, 26th Dynasty, probably reign of Psamtik I, 664-610
B.C. It is 12 1/2 inches high and has a conservative estimate
of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $218,500.
is a very imposting
Egyptian bust of a man, 26th Dynasty/Early Ptolemaic Period, 664-300
B.C. Made of either diorite or basalt, it is 12 1/4 inches high.
It has a conservative estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It
sold for $422,500.
is an exquisite Egyptian
bronze bust of a queen or goddess, Ptolemaic Period, 305-30 B.C.
It is 13 1/2 inches high and has a modest estimate of $40,000
to $60,000. It sold for $1,082,500. Although there
to the left cheek and left breast, the work is otherwise in exceptional
condition with great carving.
is a good Egyptian schist
figure of a baboon, 26th/30th Dynasty, 664-342 B.C. The finely
carved figure is in excellent condition and is 6 1/4 inches high.
Ithas a modest estimate of $12,000 to $18,000. It sold for
Lot 108 is a nice group of
amulets and scarabs from the Late Period. It has a modest estimate
of $2,500 to $3,500. It sold for $7,500.