Important Antiquities Auction at Christie’s in London

. March 3, 2010

As part of the specialised sales on offer in South Kensington, Christie’s announced the upcoming Antiquities sale, to be held on 29 April 2010. The first Christie’s sale composed by Georgiana Aitken since her appointment as head of the Antiquities department in November 2009 is set to excite international collectors and connoisseurs as well as institutions with many important, rare and museum quality pieces. The sale will comprise approximately 350 lots, including sculpture, vases and bronzes as well as a selection of ancient jewellery. Estimates range from £500 to £400,000 and the sale is expected to realize in the region of £2.5-3.5 million.

Leading the sale is an important Roman marble statue of a young satyr with a panther from the late 2nd-early 3rd century A.D. (estimate: £400,000-600,000), formerly in the collection of the celebrated and controversial French novelist, diplomat and defender of gay rights Roger Peyrefitte (1907-2000). An outspoken and flamboyant character, Peyrefitte courted scandal, and in his book Les Clés de Saint Pierre, openly attacked the Vatican and Pope Pius XII. Acquired by Peyrefitte in the 1960s and published in his collection catalogue, Un Musée de l’amour, this statue is one of a handful of known examples after the 4th century B.C. original by Praxiteles, the most famous example of which is the ‘leaning satyr’ in the Museo Capitolino, Rome.

Another sculpture featured in the sale which shows influences from the work of Praxiteles is a beautifully sculpted Roman marble torso of Aphrodite, circa 1st century A.D., formerly in a 19th Century Swiss private collection (estimate: £180,000-220,000) – the goddess was adapted from the semi-draped ‘Arles’ Aphrodite of the 4th century B.C. The depression on her left hip suggests the presence of a strut to hold her left arm which would have come across the front of her body – a similar pose to that of the Townley Aphrodite now on display in the British Museum, London.

Christie’s will also be auctioning The Gil and Myrna Goldfine Collection of 4th Century B.C. South Italian vases. Formed over the last thirty years, the fifty-eight lots included in the sale are noteworthy for their uniqueness and charm. One example from the collection, the fish plate (estimate: £4,000-5,000), is so named because of the usual decoration of this type of vessel which includes various fish and marine creatures. The small depression in the centre of the plate is designed to hold oil or sauce.

Further important works featured in the sale include a Roman marble bust of a satyr, circa 1st-2nd century A.D. which was previously part of the famed Castellani Collection (estimate: £80,000-120,000); a Roman marble portrait bust of a boy, circa A.D. 100-130 (estimate: £80,000-120,000); an Attic red-figure vase by the Berlin Painter, circa 470 B.C. (estimate £70,000-90,000); an Achaemenid rod-formed glass kohl vessel, circa 5th-4th century B.C. (estimate: £8,000-10,000); a Roman snake-thread green glass beaker from the Rhineland (estimate: £60,000-80,000), a Greek agate ram’s head (estimate: £40,000-60,000) and a private European collection of Mycenean pottery and Greek bronzes.

Image: Fish plate. Estimate: £4,000-5,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2010

Category: Auction News

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