Carter B. Horsley
is the best
antiquities art auction in several years and it is highlighted
by many museum-quality works including some magnificent Etruscan
works, several fine Roman marble sculptures and bronzes, a "monumental"
Egyptian falcon, and an adorable Mesopatomian green stone dog.
Etruscan bronzes generally are
and many that appear on the market are quite simple, but this
auction has several works that are museum-quality and were once
in the collection of Donati in Lugano.
Lot 197, for example, shown
above, is an Etruscan
bronze reclining banqueter, circa 500-480 B.C., that is 6 inches
long and has a conservative estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. It
sold for $58,750 including the buyer's premium as do all results
mentioned in this article. The work has a pine at the knees
and a hole within the square pillow on which he rests for attachment
to the rim of a vessel. This is a marvelous work with a sinuous
pose and highly stylized treatment of the hands and fine detailing
of the banqueter's beard, mustache, eyes, and hair. This charming
chap seems to invite the viewer to partake in the romance and
mystery of the Mediterranean cultures and has a fine patina.
He is perhaps
contemplating watching the dancer that is Lot 49, shown above,
another Etruscan piece, circa 5th Century, B.C, that is 5 1/8
inches high and has a conservative estimate of $30,000 to $40,000.
It sold for $28,200. This fine statuette has a
treatment of the dancer's garments and, again, a great pose and
superb treatment of the face.
Lot 48 is
a smaller, less detailed but also charming Etruscan bronze figure
of a maiden, circa early 5th Century B.C., that is 4 3/8 inches
high and has an estimate of $8,000 to $10,000. It failed to
shown above, has a quite extraordinary pose for a small bronze.
It shows an Etruscan warrior doffing his high-crested, crenellated
Corinthian helmet and holding out in his left arm a large shield.
This lot, circa 450-400 B.C., was exhibited at the "Master
Bronzes of the Classical World Exhibition in 1967 and 1968 that
traveled from the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, Mass., to the
City Art Museum of St. Louis and the Los Angeles County Museum
of Art. It has a conservative estimate of $40,000 to $50,000.
It sold for $58,750.
Lot 32 is
a fine, but more conventional Etruscan bronze warrior statue,
Umbria, circa mid-5th Century, B.C., that is 7 ¼ inches
high and has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It sold for
be a brave warrior indeed if he ever faced Lot 61, a fabulous
Etruscan bronze lion, circa 6th Century, B.C., shown above, that
is 4 3/8 inches long and has a conservative estimate of $20,000
to $25,000. It sold for $22,325.
also has three small Etruscan lions with Donati provenance and
the same dating as Lot 61: Lots 58, 59 and 60. Lot 58 is a 3
head of a quite fearsome lion and has an estimate of $6,000 to
$8,000. It sold for $5,640. Lot 59 is a charming
lion with raised tail that is 3 inches long and has an estimate
of $6,000 to $8,000. It failed to sell. Lot 60 is
highly finished of these three lots and the 2 1/8-inch-long appliqué
has a somewhat ambitious estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It
sold for $9,400.
as these Etruscan bronzes are, they pale a bit in comparison with
Lot 62, a Roman bronze figure of Mercury, circa third quarter
of the 1st Century A.D. because of its exquisite modeling, fine
patina condition and impressive height of 8 ¼ inches. It
too has a Donati provenance. It has a conservative estimate of
$80,000 to $100,000 and is about as fine a Classical bronze of
this size as imaginable. It is the catalogue's cover illustration.
It sold for $138,000 to a European institution.
in contrast to the great quality of Lot 62, is a Greek bronze
figure of Alexander the Great, Hellenistic Period, circa 3rd-2nd
Century B.C., that is a robust 7 7/8 inches high but less finely
sculpted and with a lesser quality patina. The statue is missing
its raised right hand. It also has a Donati provenance and a somewhat
ambitious estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It sold for $64,625.
however, is a more pleasing Greek bronze sculpture. This 7 /8-inch
high bronze figure of Athena Promachos, circa Early 5th Century
BC., is also missing her raised right hand, but is notable for
the spread of her very nicely detailed garments and the pleasant
expression on her face. It has an estimate of $50,000 to $80,000
and was once in the collection of Dr. Jacob Hirsch. It sold
of these two Greek statues have a somewhat static presence, Lot
187 is a very fine rearing horse of great dynamism and detail
despite its length of only 2 inches. It is a Greek silver statuette
from the Hellenistic Period, circa 3rd-2nd Century B.C., and has
an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $32,900.
with a mania for marble, the auction has some fine Roman statues.
shown above, is a very lovely and superb Roman gray marble figure
of a woman, circa 2nd Century A.D., that is 27 ½ inches
high and has a conservative estimate of $50,000 to $80,000. It
sold for $41,125. With her short dress that bares her left
shoulder and her twisted pose and finely detailed face, she offers
quite a romantic and stunning contrast to more familiar works
that are nudes or great studies in drapery. This woman has a lyricism
and grace that seems almost more appropriate to the Pre-Rafaelites
some 17 centuries or so later. The catalogue notes, however, that
"the pose is loosely based on a sculpture of the poetess
Praxilla of Sicyon by Lysippos, known from several Roman copies."
fine, non-heroic example of the art of Roman sculpture is Lot
284, shown above, which shows Eros on a dolphin, circa 1st-2nd
Century A.D. The 29 ½-inch-high sculpture shows "the
pudgy boy," as the catalogue humorously describes this important
god, seated on the back of a pudgy dolphin, whose mouth is toothy
and has been drilled to function as a spout for a fountain. The
work was formerly in the collection of Robin Symes of London and
Albrecht Neuhaus of Wurzburg. Eros is missing his right arm and
shoulder and his left arm shows signs of repair, but otherwise
the work is in great condition. It has a conservative estimate
of $50,000 to $80,000. It failed to sell.
who are awed by Roman sculptors' way with the drape of garments,
there are two fine sculptures in the auction, Lots 264 and 272.
The former is a Roman marble figure of the Muse Ourania, circa
1st Century B.C.-1st Century A.D., that is 30 inches high and
has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $116,000
to a European collector. Its provenance mentions the Merrin
Gallery of New York. While the figure is missing her head, her
arms and her right foot, she presents a most elegant pose seated
on a pile of rocks and leaning forward. Ourania was the muse of
astronomy and this pose, the catalogue states, "is known
from several copies, including fine examples in Liebighaus, Frankfurt,
and at the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore."
allergic to fish or tired with Eros, Lot 281 offers a great Roman
marble figure of infant Bacchus that is 14 ½ inches high
and has a very conservative estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. It
sold for $37,600.
is an elegant Roman marble figure of a woman, circa late 1st Century
B.C.-early 1st Century A.D., which is 61 inches tall and has a
conservative estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for
While the figure's cascading garments are quite as superbly sculpted
as in Lot 264, the statue is very impressive and erect and only
missing her head and her left hand.
but impressive is Lot 285, a Roman marble figure of a young man,
circa 1st-2nd Century A.D., that is 56 ½ inches. The statue
of a nude male is missing its head and the catalogue notes that
"the muscular torso, the undeveloped pubic hair, the hip
thrust to the right and the position of the legs all recall the
pose of the `Westmacott Ephebe' in the British Museumrecognized
as being a Roman copy of an original by Polykleitos of the late
5th Century B.C." "Our sculpture," the catalogue
continued, "differs only in the position of the right arm,
here lowered, but raised on the Ephebe The re-working of Greek
models is a typical feature of Roman workshops." The sculpture
has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $88,125
to a European dealer.
headless Roman sculpture is Lot 290, a Roman marble figure of
Dionysus, circa 2nd Century A.D., that is 75 ½ inches high.
The god, who is also missing both his arms, his genitals and most
of his right leg, is standing by a kneeling panther who look up
wistfully at the finely sculpted goat's hide and head worn by
the god. Despite the "damage," this is an impressive
work and has a conservative estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It
sold for $82,250.
figures are of little interest, then perhaps a very classic statue
of Aphrodite will do. It is Lot 275, a Roman marble torso of Aphrodite,
circa 1st Century B.C.-1st Century A.D. The 33-inch statue was
once in the collection of Andre Emmerich an is based on a Greek
original of the 4th Century B.C., likely the work of a follower
of Praxiteles and the catalogue notes that "the type is known
from several Roman copies, including a fairly complete example
in the Glyptothek" in Munich. This headless, armless lot
has a conservative estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold
for $160,000 to a private American collector.
is an excellent Roman marble figure of a Dioskouros, circa 1st-2nd
Century A.D. It is 32 ½ inches high and has a very fine
head but no legs and arms and a conservative estimate of $30,000
to $50,000. It sold for $28,200.
without sufficient display space for such Roman works the auction
offers several other interesting pieces.
is a very impressive Roman bronze multi-nozzled oil lamp, circa
2nd Century A.D., that is 15 ¼ inches in diameter and has
a very conservative estimate of $12,000 to $18,000. It sold
for $47,000. "Egyptianizing in style, with six naturalistic
bull's heads alternating with six tubular nozzles with rounded
sprouts, the inner ring with six busts of pharaohs, each wearing
a nemes-headdress," is art of the catalogue's
is an imposing and very dramatic Roman bronze oil lamp, shown
above, circa 1st Century B.C.-1st Century A.D., hat is 6 7/8 inches
long and has a conservative estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. It
sold for $14,100. The two-spouted lamp is in the form of a
reclining bull whose front feet are resting upon the spouts.
is a fine Roman bronze knife handle in the form of a winged horse
emerging from acanthus petals. It is only 2 7/16 inches long and
has a conservative estimate of $1,000 to $1,500. It sold for
of Egyptian art will no doubt focus intensely on Lot 101, a
bronze falcon, 17 1/8 inches high, Third Intermediate Period,
Dynasty XXI-XXV, 1070-712 B.C. Presumably Sydney Greenstreet's
spirit will be in the auction room for this one even though it
is not a "black bird." It has a good green patina and
a very conservative estimate, since such objects usually rank
at the top most antiquities collectors' lists, of $30,000 to $50,000.
It sold for $149,000 to a European collector.
beloved as falcons are hippopatomi and Lot 76 is a very imposing
black stone hippopotamus, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty XIII, 1991-1783
B.C. Since his length, however, is only 5 7/8 inches long, he
is not quite as "monumental" as Lot 101 and his back
has, the catalogue notes, "been hollowed out forming a neartly
finished rectangular recessed trough, perhaps for cosmetics."
The lot has a somewhat ambitious estimate of $50,000 to $80,000.
It failed to sell.
Lot 96 is
a very good Egyptian alabaster and bronze ibis from the same period
as Lot 101. The 5 5/8-inch-high work has a somewhat ambitious
estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $30,550.
of Egyptian art who do not fancy animals this season, Lot 77 is
a very impressive Egyptian granite bust of a man, Middle Kingdom,
Late Dynasty XII, 1878-1783 B.C. The 10 1/2 inch-high statue has
a conservative estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for
Lot 23 is
an excellent Villanovan bronze horse bit, circa 8th-7th Century
B.C., that is 10 ¾ inches wide and has a conservative estimate
of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold for $17,625.
art has become increasingly popular over the last decade or so
and it should be interesting to see how two spectacular small
sculptures, Lots 339 and 356, fare.
shown above, is a Sumerian limestone standing worshipper, Early
Dynastic III, circa 2500 B.C. The 8 3/8-inch-high statue is in
pretty good and complete condition and has a modest estimate of
$90,00 to $120,000. It sold for $149,000 to a European
auction's most stunning, or least most adorable, piece, however,
is probably Lot 356, a Mesopotamian green stone figure of a dog,
Dynasty of Isin, Reign of Bur-Sin, 1895-1874 B.C. This statue,
shown above, is 6 ½ inches high and has a conservative
estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It failed to sell. The
eyes are inlaid with white stone or shell and one of them still
has a lapis lazuli pupil. The back of the work is inscribed in
cuneiform, and the catalogue observes that the dog was the symbol
of a healing goddess and that the sculpture at one time presumably
was surmounted by a shepherd's crook based on some cylinder seals.
Bernheimer, senior vice president and International Specialist
Head for Antiquities at Christie's, described the sale as "tremendously
successful with bids coming ast and furious from a balanced mixture
of private collectors, institutions and dealers." While there
were strong prices in all major collector sectors, only 68 percent
of the 385 offered lots sold.