auction at Christie's June 8, 2005 is full of many splendid works,
most notably the fantastic Schuster "Stargazer," Lot
37, a 7 7/8-inch-high Anatolian marble female idol of the Kiliya
type that dates to the Chalcolithic Period, circa 3300-2500 B.C.
A work of
supreme beauty worthy of the world's greatest museums, it is in
remarkable condition and is one of the finest works of antiquity
to come up for auction in many years. It has an "estimate
on request" and is likely to sell in the low seven figures.
It sold for $1,808,000 including the buyer's premium as do
all results mentioned in this article. The sales price was an
auction record for a Kiliya idol, more than doubling the previous
record. Although only 65 percent of the offered lots sold, the
sale total of $5,233,460 was much higher than the results at the
Sotheby's antiquities sale. As the final major auction of the
season, it demonstrated that Christie's was far more successful
this season than Sotheby's in most major categories except Latin
and abstract, it has a massive head tilted backward acutely. It
was once in the collections of Marion Schuster of Lausanne,
Mathilde de Goldschmidt-Rothschild and Robin Symes. According
to the catalogue, only "about 15 complete or nearly complete
'stargazer' idols survive, while numerous fragmentary pieces are
known....Most of the complete examples have been broken across
the neck, as here, suggesting that the sculptures were ritually
'killed' at the time of burial. They range in size from about
2 1/2 inches to 9 inches...It is unclear what the relationship
if, if any, between these Anatolian idols and their better-known
and roughly-contemporary cousins from the Cycladic Islands further
west." These figures come from Anatolia in western Turkey
and Iiliua is a site near Gallipoli on the Gelibolu peninsula.
"stargazer" is incomparable, this auction has three
works that would compliment it very nicely.
Lot 53 is
a very impressive South Arabian calcite libation table that is
dated circa late 7th-6th Century B.C., and is as complex as the
Anatolian female idol is simple. The 15 5/16-inch long object
has three horizontal registers, the top two of which have a row
of dentils topped with horizontal moldings and the bottom one
has an inscription that is dedicated to Athtar Ba;san when he
made an agreement in the time of Sumhu-amir. The top of the table
is slightly depressed and the front of the table has a projecting
runoff channel in the form of a stylized bull's head. This object
was once in the collection of Dr. Eli Borowski. The fourth and
back side of the table is unfinished and was probably placed against
a wall. The object has a modest estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.
It sold for $57,600.
One of the
most charming objects to come up at auction in recent years is
Lot 56, a South Arabian alabaster lion that is 9 7/8 inches high.
The lion is dated circa 1st Century B.C.-1st Century A.D. Forget
about your teddybears, this is a timeless antiquity for the child
in all of us! It has a conservative estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.
It sold for $114,000.
the lion was tamed by Lot 59, a Parthian alabaster female figure.
The 8 1/4-inch-long figure is dated circa 2nd-1st Century B.C.,
and is depicted reclining to her left and holding a cup in her
left hand. The catalogue entry for this lot notes that the hair
was once finished in a secondary material, the almond-shaped eyes
inlaid, and adds that "ghosts of armlets and anklets alsoperserved."
The lot has a modest estimate of $12,000 to $18,000. It sold
Anatolian "stargazer" would be the undisputed highlight
of any collection, these later calcite and alabaster objects would
be a collection worthy of any enlightened and humorous prince.
might well be Lot 87, a Greek seated youth from the Classical
Period, circa mid-5th-Century B.C. The solid cast bronze figure
is, according to the catalogue, "perhaps originally from
the shoulder of a large vessel." "It is finely modelled
with great attention to naturalistic details of musculature and
physiognomy, seated with his legs cross before him,..., wearing
a pilos helmet and a chlamys pulled tightly around his left shoulder
and pinned at this right, his head turned acutely to his left,
his right hand fisted and raised to his chin in contemplation,
his left hand emerging from his drapery, once gripping a now-missing
attribute, his curly hair rendered beneath the rim of his helmet...."
The catalogue also notes that "The serence expression and
details of the face....find a close parallel in a standing athlete
now in the Clevemland Museum of Art" and that "for a
related bronze in terms of the dating, scale and function, see
the maenad now in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin..." The
lot has a conservative estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It
highlight of the auction is Lot 118, a Greek bronze figure of
an African that is very majestic and noble in pose and beautiful
in execution. It dates to the Hellenistic Period, circa late 2nd-early
1st Century B.C., and is 10 1/4 inches high. This extremely graceful
work has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for
is a very impressive bronze Roman calvary parade helmet. Dating
circa 2nd Century A.D., it is 10 1/4 inches high and the catalogue
notes that it "perhaps" represents an Amazon. The helmet,
which completely encloses the head, is in two sections. It has
an estimate of $90,000 to $120,000. It failed to sell.
is an excellent headless and armless Roman marble sculpture of
Isis in fine drapery. The impressive statue is 45 1/4 inches high
and is dated circa 2nd Century A.D. It is property from the Francey
and Dr. Martin L. Gecht Collection. "The Egyptian goddess
Isis came to be immensely popular throughout the ancient world,"
the catalogue notes, adding that "Her cult was first established
outside of Egypt in Piraeus, the port of Athens, by the 4th Century
B.C. During the Hellenistic Period she was worshipped together
with other Egyptian deities such as Serapis, Harpokrates and Anubis.
Her cult was firmly established in Rome by the 1st Century B.C.
Numerous images of the goddess survive, often with easily reognizable
attributes, such as an Egyptian crown, a sistrum ans situlal and
the fringed mantle with the characteristic 'Isis" knot between
the breatsts." It has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000.
It sold for $240,000.
is a nice Roman marble cuirassed statue, circa 1st Century A.D.
The cover illustration of the catalogue, which notes that it "possibly"
depicted an emperor, it is 36 inches high and has an estimate
of $150,000 to $250,000. It sold for $576,000.
is a fine Roman bronze Satyriskos, circa 1st Century B.C.-1st
Century A.D. The 21-inch-high statue has an estimate of $50,000
to $70,000. It failed to sell. "The animated pose
of this satyriskos," the catalogue observed, "recalls
the famous dancing faun from the House of the Faun in Pompeii.
Although our figure thrusts one arm in the air like his famous
Pompeian cousin, the somewhat more static posture suggests the
possibility that the upraised arm originally supported a lamp
has a good selection of portrait sculptures.
is a very fine Roman marble head of Narcissus, circa 1st Century
A.D. The 7 1/8-inch-high head is based on a 5th Century prototype
by Polykleitos. The object comes from the Collection of Howard
K. and Benedicte Smith. It has a modest estimate of $7,000 to
$9,000. It sold for $19,200.
is a beautiful Roman marble head of Venus, circa 1st Century B.C.-1st
Century A.D. It is 6 11/16 inches high and has an estimate of
$50,000 to $70,000. It sold for $60,000.
is a nicely animated Roman basalt head of a satyr from Syria,
circa 2nd Century A.D. It is 8 1/4 inches high and has an estimate
of $10,000 to $15,000. It failed to sell.
is a superb Roman marble portrait head of a woman with an interesting
coiffure. It is dated to the Flavian Period, circa 75-90 A.D.
It is 13 1/8 inches high and has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.
It sold for $31,200.
is a Roman bronze applique in the form of a sea-griffin. It is
2 1/2 inches long and is dated circa 2nd Century A.D. It has an
estimate of $3,000 to $5,000. It sold for $3,360.
Lot 83 is
a nice Attic black-figured column krater that is 14 1/8 inches
high. Dated circa 510-500 B.C., it has an estimate of $15,000
to $20,000. It sold for $18,000. Lot 77 is a fine
black-figured neck-amphora that is attributed to the Painter of
the Cambridge Hydria, circa 550-525 B.C. It is 11 1/8 inches high
and has an estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. It failed to sell.
of Egyptian art want an ibis wood and bronze sculpture. This auction
offers two large ones, both from the Late Period to Ptolemaic
Period, 664-30 B.C. Lot 24 is 16 inches long and has a hemhem
crown and has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for
$31,200. Lot 25 is 21 inches long and has an estimate of
to $20,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 8 is
an impressive alabaster Egyptian canopic jar and lid for Ipey,
New Kingdom, Dynasty XVIII-XIX, 1550-1196 B.C. The 16 3/4 inches
object comes from the Collection of Howard K. and Benedicte Smith.
It has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $38,400.
Lot 15 is
a good Egyptian bronze sculpture of Osiris. It is dated Third
Intermediate Period to Late Period, Dynasty XXI-XXX, 1070-343
B.C. It is 13 3/4 inches high and has an estimate of $70,000 to
$90,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 4 is
a charming pair of wood figures, Egyptian, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty
XI-XIV, 2040-1640 B.C. They are about 10 5/8 inches high and have
an estimate of $2,000 to $3,000. It sold for $9,000.
is a fine parcel gilt silver rhyton that is Eastern Roman, circa
1st Century, A.D. It is 8 15/16 inches high and has an estimate
of $100,000 to $150,000. It failed to sell.