market abounds in popular and well-known objects such as Greek
and Roman marble statues and busts, bronze statuettes of Roman
and Egyptian gods, Egyptian reliefs, Roman mosaics, Greek vases,
Sumerian figures and tablets, Egyptian and Roman jewelry and the
there is a wide diversity of quality and condition.
there is a small amount of "surprises" and puzzles and
this auction has some lots that are bound to intrigue them.
for example, is a "monumental" limestone figure of a
lion, 30th Dynasty/Ptolemaic Period, 380-30 B.C., shown above.
The 49-inch-long-and-27 1/2-inch-high sculpture is noted for its
archaic style, its quixotic grin, and the charming way its tall
wraps around the roughly finished base. The treatment of the lion's
mane is highly and nicely stylized but rests against a stippled
breast with a straight-line base. The sculpture also is incised
to delineate the right front leg's muscles but there is also an
inexplicable incised double line that runs along the lion's right
side. The recumbent pose is regal, but unusual in that the right
front paw rests on an upturned-turned left paw, a rather unusual
stance. The catalogue notes that the eyes are recessed for inlay
and that there is "ancient graffiti with Roman numerals on
the top of the left leg." The catalogue also compares the
present lot with monumental granite lions in the Vatican that
it suggests may have inspired it and also takes note of a "number
of considerably smaller versions, and a limestone lion in the
Louvre of the same length. "Here Christiane Ziegler noted
that 'the sense of movement and suppleness emanating from these
cats contrasts with the rigidity of the pharonic sphinxes and
has long intrigued the experts,'" the catalogue entry continued.
whether is was an unfinished sculptor's model for a more finished
work in higher quality stone or perhaps a work whose date and
culture is not entirely clear, and no provenance is mentioned
in the catalogue.
has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000 and clearly its size and
completeness and the finely done head are impressive. It sold
for $154,250 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned
in this article.
make a difference in market values as evident in some other auction
Lot 45 is
a Roman bronze figure of Aphrodite, circa 2nd/3rd Century, A.D.,
that is finely modeled and stands 9 inches high. It has an estimate
of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $20,300.
for example, is a bronze figure of Aphrodite Anadyomene, Roman
Imperial, circa 1st Century A.D., shown above, that is very striking
because it has a full-figure statue of Aphrodite raising her hands
to rinse the seam foram from her hair looming over an much smaller
ithyphallic herm of Priapus at her left, both standing on a curved
base that is part of the sculpture. Priapus is looking up at Aphrodite,
whose ears are pierced for earrings, and the catalogue notes "another
small figure, perhaps a dolphin or Eros, [is] missing on Aphrodite's
right side." There is a fragementary marble statue of Aphrodite
with an ithyphallic Priapus standing to her left in the Vatican
Museum and a smaller bronze similar to this lot but with a dolphin
on her right was auctioned at Sotheby's, New York, June 5, 1999.
This sculpture is 12 1/2 inches tall, including the curved bronze
pedestal. This lot has a somewhat ambitious estimate of $100,000
to $150,000. It sold for $115,750.
Lot 18, an Etruscan bronze figure of Herakles, circa 3rd Century
B.C., shown above, is only 6 1/2 inches high and has an estimate
of $20,000 to $25,000, and Lot 20, shown below, a Roman bronze
figure of Mars Ultor, circa 2nd Century A.D., is only 5 5/16 inches
high and has an estimate of $12,000 to $18,000. Lot 18 sold
for $31,800, but Lot 20 failed to sell. Both these lots are
very nicely sculpted with good patinas. The former one, however,
is missing his right foot and part of his left and the latter,
shown above, is missing part of his right arm. Both of these lots
are a bit larger than many of the bronze statuettes that appear
frequently on the market.
has a couple of very fine helmets and some good large statues
Lot 30 is
a marble head of Aphrodite, Roman Imperial, circa 1st Century,
A.D., that has not been defaced and is quite beautiful. The 8-inch
high head, shown above, comes from the collection of Phyllis Coons
and has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for
A less beautiful
woman is depicted in Lot 53, but she is very imposing and has
a most impressive hairdo. This 20-inch-high marble bust of a lady,
Roman Imperial, reign of Domitian, circa A. D. 81-96, was once
in the collection of von Boschan-Aschrott in Viena in the 19th
Century and is in exquisite condition with great detail. The woman's
mature face has a "reflective expression," and has a
"finely arranged coiffure framing the forehead in a high
semi-circle of small spiral curls, and drawn back behind the ears
and up from the nape of the neck into a turban of coiled braids
behind the crown, small curls escaping the neck," the catalogue
noted. The lot has a quite modest estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.
It sold for $92,750.
Roman sculptors could not only fashion facial likenesses remarkably
well but they also excelled in depictions of diaphonous chitons
as evidence by the wonderful treatment in Lot 31, shown above,
of the garment worn by Apollo Kitharoidos. The 34-inch high marble
statue is Roman Imperial, circa 1st Century A. D. and the catalogue
notes that the angle of the missing upper right arm "suggests
that the god was playing his instrument," a kithara, a fragment
of which is cradled in his missing left arm. This lot has an
estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $46,750.
though smaller work is Lot 29, a Roman marble figure of a Barbarian,
circa 1st/2nd Century A.D. The 23 1/2-inch high statue is less
finely modeled but has considerable charm because of its animated
stance and the remains of the figure's right hand on the right
hip. It has an estimate of $12,000 to $18,000. It failed to
Lot 68 is
a very impressive Greek helmet, circa late 4th Century, B.C.,
that is accompanied by a cuirass and a greave. The 13 1/2-inch-high
helmet, shown above, is, according to the catalogue, "derived
from the Chalcidian type, with hinged cheek-plates with rounded
lateral projections, and recessed neck-guard with slight flaring
edge, two large spirals on the temple connected above the eyes
by a continuous rib, a central gorgoneion between the two ribs,
elongated stylized eyebrows in relief below, the slightly carinated
crown with a palmette-shapped plate riveted across the crest for
reinforcement, the bronze wings with engraved feather decoration
fastened below the volutes, a corkscrew-shaped serpent standing
erect above each wing." The lot was once in the collection
of Axel Guttmann in Berlin and has a modest estimate of $80,000
to $120,000. It sold for $115,750.
but no less fine is Lot 70, shown above, a Greek bronze helmet,
Magna Graecia, circa 4th Century B.C., that is 11 /3/4 inches
long. The helmet's cheek-guards are engraved with confronted wild
boars with foliate motifs behind each animal and the catalogue
notes that the "fragmentary plume-holder on the crown [is]
flanked by fragmentary attachments for additional plumes or horns."
The rear flare of the helmet is bit damaged but otherwise this
is a very fine helmet and has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.
It sold for $24,900.
Lot 78 is
a lovely Hellenistic gold cup, circa 2nd Century B.C., of rounded
form, 2 3/4 inches high, that shows four delicately sculpted fisherman
on rocky outcrops and an octopus on a rock. It has a conservative
estimate of $18,000 to $22,000. It sold for $87,000!
and delicate but still quite striking is Lot 121, a Hittite bronze
standard, late 3rd Millennium B.C. The 5 1/2-inch high standard
has a highly stylized bull's head with long horns protruding from
an openwork sun-disk criss-crossed by diagonal bands. The lot
has an ambitious estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It failed
is a very good Syro-Phoenician silver figure of a goddess, circa
14th/12th Century B.C., that is 5 13/16 inches tall and shows
the goddess with, according to the catalogue, "her feet resting
on a rectangular footstool and her hands formerly holding a scepter
and weating a long kilt with tasseled overfold in front, the small
punched dots along the hem of each perhaps for inlay.and high
conical crown with stylized horns, the earlobes pierced for the
additions of earrings." The lot has an ambitious estimate
of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $55,375.
has several excellent lots of Egyptian faience amulets from a
German private collection.
consists of two such amulets from the Late Period, 716-30 B.C.,
one a white hippopotamus-headed Thoeris, shown above, 2 5/16-inches
tall, and the other a deep turquoise amulet of ibis-headed Thoth,
2 3/16 inches tall. The lot has a conservative estimate of $1,500
to $2,500. It sold for $7,200.
a lapis lazuli figure of the Horus Falcon, 21st/22nd Dynasty,
1075-732 B.C., 1 7/16 inches high, was estimated at $3,000 to
$5,000 and sold for $90,150.
consists of six smaller amulets from the same period including
a Horus falcon, two addorsed crocodiles, a vulture, a hare and
a baboon. This lot, shown above, has a conservative estimate of
$1,500 to $2,500. It was withdrawn but is expected to
at the next antiquities auction at Sotheby's in the fall.
consists of a group of nine amulets, New Kingdom/Late Period,
1540-30 B.C., ranging in size from 7/16 to 1 11/16 inches. It
had an estimate of $2,500 to $3,500 and sold for $16,800.
consists of 11 amulets from the same period and includes Isis
seated on a lion-legged throne holding Horus in her lap, ram-headed
Khnum, ibis-headed Thoth, falcon-headed Horus, lion-headed Sekhmet
seated on an openwork throne decorated with serpents and a carnelian
figure of Patek. This lot has a conservative estimate of $2,500
to $3,500. It sold for $9,000.
is an exquisite and very fine bronze figure of the God Amun, 22nd
Dynasty, 944-714 B.C., that is 4 3/8 inches high and has an estimate
of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold at Sotheby's New York, December
10, 1999 for $11,500. It sold for $12,000.
illustration of the catalogue is a detail of Lot 192, a limestone
relief fragment, late Ptolemaic Period, circa 100-30 B.C., that
the catalogue notes is "probably from the dram of a column,
carved in sunk relief with a figure of a queen facing left and
holding a cypress scepter before her" and wearing an echeloned
tripartite wig with a vulture headdress and facing another figure,
"probably a Nile God, offering her lotus and papyrus blossoms."
The other figure is missing in this relief but not the blossoms
that are shown on the catalogue's cover. The fragment has remains
of ancient polychromy and is quite impressive but has a conservative
estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $37,550.
for whom reproductions of the Metropolitan Museum's blue faience
Egyptian hippopotamus are insufficient, Lot 203 may be enticing
as it is a 4 1/4-inch long blue faience hippopotamus, 12th Dynasty,
1938-1759 B.C., that has a modest estimate of $6,000 to $9,000.
Although it is smaller and not as brightly decorated as the one
at the Metropolitan, it is a blue hippopotamus who rarely wanders
in Manhattan! It sold for $9,600.
sale ended the major spring auction season in New York in 2001
and its generally strong prices indicated that despite a weak
national economy the art market appears to have not lost too much
of its momentum from last year and remains strong for works of
very high quality, although buyers certainly are becoming more
selective as indicated by the rather high buy-in rates at many
of the season's auctions.