Lot 26
  • 26

An Egyptian Basalt Figure of a Man, 30th Dynasty/early Ptolemaic Period, 380-200 B.C.

80,000 - 120,000 USD
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  • An Egyptian Basalt Figure of a Man
  • Basalt
  • Height 23 3/4 in. 60.3 cm.
striding on a rectangular base with his arms held to his sides, holding short staves, and wearing a short wrap-around kilt with narrow belt, his torso with recessed circular navel, the back pillar probably once inscribed, a mortise at the upper part of the diagonal break perhaps for the attachment of an ancient restoration.


Prof. Dr. Julius Meier-Graefe (1867-1935), German art critic, art historian, and novelist , acquired before 1935
Annemarie Meier-Graefe Broch (1905-1994), Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, Côte d’Azur, France, circa 1935-1990


As shown and described; it appears the missing shoulder may have been restored in antiquity as catalogue states, and that the back pillar was smoothed back perhaps so it could be re-inscribed for another individual. Some areas are covered by peck marks suggesting the statue was not completely finished. This too is suggested by the un-cutaway area next to the proper right foot. There are large ancient chips underneath and around the lower edge of the base, and felt pads have been added so that it stands up straight.
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

It is probable that the back pillar was once inscribed with the name and titles of the owner of the statue; the inscription appears to have been erased in antiquity, possibly in order to re-use the statue for a different owner.

For related examples cf. Bernard V. Bothmer, Egyptian Sculpture of the Late Period, Brooklyn, 1960, pl. 72, no. 75, and pl. 77, no. 81, both dated to the reign of Nectanebo I (380-362 B.C.). Of the latter sculpture , the statue of Ankh-pa-khered in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mr. Bothmer writes that, in comparison with earlier sculptures of the Late Period, “…the forms presented in this figure of Ankh-pa-khered are surprisingly modest and restrained. Chest, rib cage, and abdomen are well indicated as individual units, but the transition from one to the other is invariably soft, and one can even detect a faint median line after early Saite fashion.”

Annemarie Broch, a wealthy heiress from a German banking family, married the German art historian and novelist Julius Alfred Meier-Graefe in 1925. Meier-Graefe had an illustrious career as an art critic and was regarded as a great authority in Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Expressionism, writing among much else important biographies of Cezanne and Van Gogh. He had a particular fascination with ancient Egyptian art and archaeology, which is expressed in his book Pyramide und Tempel published by Rowohlt Berlin in 1927. 

In 1930 the couple moved to the south of France to their new residence ‘La Banette’, in order to escape the rise of Nazism in their native land. A few years later Meier-Graefe died in Switzerland in 1935.

In 1949 she married the Austrian Modernist writer Hermann Broch. When Broch died only two years later in 1951, Annemarie returned to her beloved residence in the Côte d’Azur where she lived until her death in 1994. During this last period of her life she developed a friendship with Gottfried Honnefelder who was working on the literary works of both Hermann Broch and Julius Meier-Graefe for the publishing house Suhrkamp Verlag. She gave the present statue to him around the year 1990.