Carter B. Horsley
Spring 2007 Antiquities
auction at Sotheby's is low in quantity, reflecting the continuing
controversies over the repatriation of some works of art, but
high in quality.
highlight of the auction
and the cover illustration of the catalogue is Lot 41, "Artemis
and the Stag," a late Hellenistic/early Roman Imperial bronze
sculpture group, 1st Century B.C./1st Century A.D. It is 36 1/4
inches high and is one of several works in the auction that comes
from the Albright-Knox Gallery of Art in Buffalo.
catalogue provides the
following commentary on this lot which the museum acquired in
1953 from Ugo Jandolo and Piero Tozzi:
the goddess Artemis does not conform to any of the known stauary
types of the goddess and departs from her usual iconography in
several significant ways. she is shown as an adolescent girl rather
than as a fully developed young woman; she is catpured in the
moment immediately following the shooting of her bow rather than
grasping an arrow from her quiver or preparing to shoot...; unlike
the Diana of Versailles, for example she does not grab the antlers
of her leaping stag but lets it stand peacefully at her side as
her attribute and symbolic beast...; her chiton, which normally
appears windblown only when the goddess is shown running, billows
symmetrically at her sides in a manner highly reminiscent of the
Lares, the Roman household gods usually cast as small figurines
and kept in domenstic shrines...; and the manner in which her
chiton clings to her thighs and lower abdomen more generally alludes
of the 'wet drapery' style of late 5th Century B.C. Attic
these departures form the norm, whether iconographical borrowings
or stylistic quotations, suggest that the present group is a late
Hellenistic creation designed for the eclectic and highly refined
tase of he Roman art market in the late Republic or early Empire."
catalogue entry also notes
that there is another small example of a stag standing by the
side of the goddess in the Paul Getty Museum, and the bronze is
an indirect cast assembled from a number of sections.
has an estimate of
$5,000,000 to $7,000,000. It sold for $28,600,000 including
the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.
The price was the highest ever paid at auction for a sculpture,
surpassing the previous record of $27,456,000 for Constantin Brancusi's
"Oiseau Dans L'Espace" in May, 2005. It also smashed
the previous auction record for a work of antiquity of $11,652,175
for The Jenkins Venus set in June, 2002.
sold to Giuseppe Eskenazi,
a major dealer in Chinese art, who bid on behalf of a private
European collector. After the auction, Mr. Eskenazi said that
"This is certainly one of the finest, if not the finest,
bronze or any sculpture that I have seen in my 50-year career,"
adding that "On the world scale, it is certainly at the top."
"It is the height of bronze casting; it is of the highest
quality, and it is exceptionally refined. It is comparable to
any other sculpture of this size and quality in any museum or
any privae collection anywhere," he said.
Keresey, the head
of the department at Sotheby's, said that "Artemis is certainly
the greatest work of art that I have ever sold," adding "but
she is also much more than that. She is among the most beautiful
works of art surviving from antiquity."
auction was extremely
successful with 97.5 percent of the offered lots selling for a
total of $47,194,020.
the auction's most striking
works is Lot 87, an 8-inch-high Canaanite copper figure of a man
or god from the Middle Bronze Age, circa early 2nd Millennium
B.C. The highly attenuated form has inlaid eyes with recessed
pupils and double-pierced ears. The lot has a conservative estimate
of $6,000 to $8,000. It sold for $60,000.
is a fine alabaster
figure of a worshipper. It is Sumerian, Early Dynastic III, circa
2800-2550 B.C. It is 14 1/4 inches high. It is property of the
Albright-Knox Art Gallery. It has an modest estimate of $300,000
to $500,000. It sold for $1,720,000.
is a strong Roman Imperial
marble relief fragment, circa A.D. 250-270. It is 16 1/4 inches
high. The catalogue notes that it is probably from the corner
of a monumental lion-hunt sacrophagus. It has a conservative estimate
of $12,000 to $18,000. It sold for $66,000.
is an impressive marble
figure of a muse, Roman Imperial, circa 2nd Century A.D. It is
31 7/8 inches high. It has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000.
It sold for $168,000.
is a fine marble figure
of Apollo, Roman Imperial, circa 1st Century A.D. The 20-inch-high
statue was inspired by a Greek sculpture by Praxiteles of the
4th Century B.D. depicting the deity standing with the weight
on his left leg and his right hand on his hip and wearing a baldric
slung over his shoulder. The lot has a modest estimate of $25,000
to $35,000. It sold for $90,000.
is an imposing funerary
portrait marble statue of a poet, Late Republican/Augustan, circa
50 B.C.-A.D. 14. It is 46 inches high. It is property of the
Art Gallery in Buffalo. It has an estimate of $125,000 to $175,000.
It sold for $2,056,000.
is a fine Roman Imperial
mosaic panel, early 4th Century A.D. It measures 23 1/2 by 23
1/4 inches. It is said to have been found at Ostia, the ancient
port city of Rome. It has a conservative estimate of $40,000 to
$60,000. It sold for $510,000.
is a fine Sasanian silver-gilt
plate, circa 5th Century A.D. It is 7 5/8 inches wide. It is the
back cover illustration of the catalogue and has an estimate of
$250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $276,000.
auction has two fine Cycladic
Early Bronze Age II works in marble depicting goddesses, Lots
36 and 37. The former is dated circa 2600-2400 B.C., and is 7
1/16 inches high. It has a modest estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.
It sold for $84,000. The latter is dated circa
B.C., and is 3 3/4 inches high. It is attributed to the Goulandris
Sculptor and has an estimate of $60,000 to $90,000. It sold
is a beautiful red granite
Egyptian head of a man from the 30th Dynasty, 380-342 B.C. It
is 7 1/2 inches high and is property of the Albert-Knox Gallery
of Art in Buffalo. The catalogue notes that Bernard Bothmer mentions
three related examples, one in the Louvre, one in the State Museums
in Berlin and one in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The lot
has a conservative estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold
is an Egyptian magnesite
marble bust of a goddess from the 25th Dynasty, 750-656 B.C. It
is 8 1/2 inches high and is property of the Albright-Knox Art
Gallery in Buffalo. The work is quite stylized in a rather puffy
manner with the wig of the goddess Hathor ended in voluted ends
and also falling in a single voluted lock onto the top of the
fragmentary back pillar. The lot has an estimate of $40,000 to
$60,000. It sold for $360,000.
is a very nice Egyptian
limestone figure of a lady, 18th Dynasty, Period of Amenhotep
III/Horemhab, 1390-1292 B.C. It is 8 1/4 inches high. She is wearing
bracelets and armlets, a diaphanous pleated gown, a broad beaded
collar and long full wig bound in a diadem with lotus flower.
There are traces of an inscription at the top of the fragmentary
back-pillar. The lot has a modest estimate of $60,000 to $80,000.
It sold for $360,000.
is an impressive copper
figure of a horned hero that is 6 7/8 inches high. The catalogue
says it is Elamite, Proto-Literate Period, circa 3000-2800 B.C.
It is property of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. It
has a modest estimate of $150,000 to $250,000. It sold for