Lot 18
  • 18

A Granite Figure of a Man, early 12th Dynasty, reign of Sesostris I, 1918-1875 B.C.

200,000 - 300,000 USD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • A Granite Figure of a Man
  • Height 15 1/2 in. 39.4 cm.
inscribed for Isi, son of Ipu, striding on a rectangular base, holding short staves, and wearing a pleated kilt with central tab and rounded wig of echeloned curls leaving the ears uncovered, his broad face with full outlined lips and eyebrows in relief, traces of several columns of inscription on top of the base, a column of inscription on the stela-shaped back pillar.


Dr. Bernard Kronenberg, Mamaroneck and New Rochelle, New York, acquired prior to 1968


very good overall, nose and front of wig somewhat abraded and chipped, shallow chip on chin and small shallow chip on proper right cheek next to nose, faint chips on proper left upper eyelid, chip on one toe and large chips on fingers of left hand, slight surface wear in areas, inscription on base mostly erased in antiquity as noted in catalogue footnote, some chips abrasions, and scratches on base and back pillar
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

This statue had two consecutive ancient owners. The inscription on the back-pillar translates: "An offering that the king gives, and Osiris, to the ka of Isi, son of Ipu (both being men). It is his brother who makes his name to live, Isi." Isi was the second owner of the statue. In the early 12th Dynasty, during the reign of Sesostris I, it had belonged to a man who was named on the base, and although Isi had this erased, the following can still be read: "An offering which the king gives, and Osiris, lord of Djedu: an invocation offering (2) of bread, beer, fowl...[for...]."  

Striding private statuary of men is rare in the early Middle Kingdom. For the hair style leaving the ears uncovered, first known at this time, cf. Baltimore, Egyptian Sculpture, no. 25 (22.147); also compare Vandier, La statuaire égyptienne, pl. XCI, 5 and 6 (Metropolitan Museum of Art 22.1.200 and 07.231.8). A royal parallel for the wig can be seen in a statue Sesostris I made for Snofru, first king of the 4th Dynasty (Cairo, CG 42004: Vandier, La statuaire égyptienne, pl.LIX, 2). This statue also exhibits a similar strong muscularity and massive legs.

The name Isi is attested in H. Ranke, Die ägyptischen Personennamen, vol. I, Glückstadt, 1931, 45.15.

Bernard Kronenberg (1911-1998), originally from Warsaw, emigrated to the US with his parents in 1923 and lived in Brooklyn, where he attended City College. Later, as a student in medical school in Bern, Switzerland, he began to develop an interest in art and collecting. Upon his return to New York in 1938 he opened an ophtalmology practice in Greenwich Village, where he came into contact with artists, including Raphael Soyer and Yeffe Kimball. He then became a steady patron and passionate collector of many New York artists. On a trip to rural India to help set up eye clinics he became interested in Buddhist art. After his death his second wife, Gloria Benabo Kronenberg, gave a major part of his art collection to the Michelson Museum of Art in Marshall, Texas. The collection includes paintings, drawings, lithographs, and sculptures by artist such as Georges Rouault, Milton Avery, David Burliuk, John Edward Costigan, Chaim Gross, Fred Farr, Arnold Friedman, Oranzo Gasparo, Eugene Higgins, Abraham Walkowitz, and George "Pop" Hart.