S otheby’s dedicated sale of Ancient Sculpture & Works of Art includes a diverse selection of objects from the classical world, spanning from Roman glass to Egyptian sculpture to Greek pottery to classical marbles.
The sale is led by a group of collections including three works being offered by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, a group of Egyptian sculpture from the Estate of Paul and Marianne Steiner, and a Belgian Private collection.
In a warm, comfortable, and welcoming home, somewhere in a Medieval town on the plains of Flanders, lies an art collection now over twenty years in the making. Sunk in an armchair in the cozy reception room, with its wood floor, high ceiling, and wide windows opening onto an intimate patio, one feels reassured by this familiar setting, steeped in northern European Gemütlichkeit.
Then one’s eyes start to wander from shelf to shelf, from tabletop to tabletop, and there begins a mostly mineral imaginary voyage, across the ages and down to sunnier climes.
Scattered among the bookshelves, spanning the millennia, Egyptian, Roman, and other objects assembled there reveal a deep passion for stone (in Dutch, steen) as an artistic medium of choice, be it polished to a sheen or broken with jagged edges, richly veined and coloured or monochrome.
A few of them are made of bronze and wood, providing textural contrast and diversity. Body parts, torsos, fragmentary heads stand in silent conversation with vessels of all forms, as well as with books and contemporary works on the walls. Egypt talks to Rome, Western Asia to Southern Arabia. Sotheby’s is happy to present a selection of objects from this thoughtful and highly individual collection.
One of the most beautiful objects in our sale, a late 18th Dynasty bronze mirror with handle in the form of a girl holding a bird, her proportions evoking the time of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, comes from the collection of Paul (1913-1996) and Marianne (1919-2021) Steiner of New York. The Steiners led fascinating and creative lives, and their varied collection, including important modern works by artists such as Alexej von Jawlensky, Robert Motherwell, and Barbara Hepworth, as well as ancient Cycladic sculpture and the name piece of the Steiner Master, reflected the breadth and depth of their interests superbly.
Stone vessels are one of the earliest artistic creations in the canon of Egyptian art history. Begininng in Predynastic times (circa 3100 B.C.) and continuing through the Dynastic period, Egyptian artisans crafted elegantly simple jars and containers that possess an enduring appeal due to their true timelessness.
The rendering of the human form is a common thread that binds the cultures of the ancient western Mediterranean. This sale features both intact and fragmentary examples of different body-parts including a Roman marble leg and an Etruscan terracotta foot.