Published: June 27, 2023
Review by W.A. Demers; Photos Courtesy Art for Eternity
NEW YORK CITY — Art for Eternity, an ancient and ethnographic art gallery, presented its first online auction through the LiveAuctioneers platform on June 17. The 200-plus-lot sale was online only, with no in-person bidding. The firm has been a private dealer in Manhattan for more than 30 years and has established a large clientele from whom it sources objects to bring to the marketplace. “As certified appraisers based on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, we are continually exposed to old collections in New York City, which, in our opinion, is the densest repository of quality art in the world,” said Howard Nowes, director.
Everything from ancient Egyptian, Asian, tribal and pre-Columbian art, books, coins and catalogs crossed the block. “We had 373 bidders, a 53.8 percent sell-through rate and total sales of $117,125,” reported Nowes after the sale. “We’ve also had a lot of after-sales.”
A standout lot was a Palmyrene-style late First-Third Century white limestone relief of a standing youth, which left the gallery at $7,500. Carved in high relief, the figure of a youth stands on a ledge with his weight on his right leg, He holds a gazelle head rython in his left arm and a shallow bowl in his right hand. He wears a necklace, bracelets and leggings ornamented with a pattern of palm fronds in front and a knee-length belted tunic. With minute details of head, hair, face, tunic and leggings, the figure was 17½ inches high. Provenance was to Aphrodite Ancient Art, 2010, acquired by Dr Henry Cherrick, a professor and dean at UCLA School of Dentistry. Having pioneered government programs promoting dental care in HIV/AIDs patients, Cherrick was an avid collector of fine art and antiquities and died at the age of 84 in 2023.
It could be mistaken for a contemporary abstract sculpture. A pre-Columbian Valdivia limestone abstract figural janiform stele surpassed its high estimate to sell for $5,125. From Ecuador, circa 2300-2000 BCE, the carved limestone abstract figure had depictions of a formal geometrical rendered figural on both sides. This light grayish-green limestone “idol,” tabular in form, was rendered with large, incised eyes with raised pupils. Its dimensions were 8½ inches high, and like the Roman youth stele had been acquired by Dr Cherrick.
Another choice piece crossing the block was an Apulian red figured bell krater, which illustrates the Greek mastery of kiln oxidation and reduction, a complex ancient technique for firing ceramics that results in dramatic graphic representations. This piece, according to catalog notes, was published in the first supplement to The Red Figured Vases of Apulia by Arthur Dale Trendall and Alexander Cambitoglou (1978). “Trendall quite literally wrote the book on South Italian vases, and this piece is documented in one of the many supplements to the Bible,” said Nowes. It brought $5,000.
Also from Apulia in southern Italy and dating to 250 BCE was a stunning and vibrant ancient Greek red figure bell krater of typical form, with a disc foot, short stem, bulbous body and flaring lip. Two loop handles adorned each side of the krater, but its decoration was both unusual and beautiful. Side A depicted a nude winged Eros, advancing to the left, holding grapes in his left hand and offering a tray in his right. He wore a crown, double necklace, saccos, double bracelets, anklets and sandals, On side B was a lady of fashion figure in a gown, holding votive wreaths in her left hand and a box in her right. It left the gallery at $4,250.
Fetching $2,625 was a Roman marble head of a male patrician. From the Roman Republic era, circa First Century BCE or later. In veristic style, his short hair brushed forward on the top of his head, the man’s features were extremely realistic and surely in the likeness of an upper-class person. At a height of 6-1/8 inches, the likeness rested on a stone base.
The same amount was attained for a Japanese Meiji period cloisonne covered Koro, circa 1868-1912. The formed tripod vessel stood upon three lobed feet, the main body decorated with three panels, including a dragon. Employing traditional gold wire technique and testing as 10K gold, the catalog notes this Koro is an example that shows why the late Nineteenth Century Meiji period in Japan is often referred to as the “Golden Age” of cloisonne enamel. It was acquired in the 1990s for the collection of Stanley and Susan Reifer, Sag Harbor N.Y.
Two Egyptian cartonnage panels were notable. One was a late period (circa 663-525 BCE), 26th dynasty example, a polychrome pectoral cartonnage of stucco and paint over linen. Depicted were a winged scarab flanked by Hieracocephales; a large broad collar with Naos in the center; Isis protector spreading its wings; and a mummification scene. It brought $2,500, as did an ensemble representing the four Sons of Horus: the human-headed protector of the liver; the baboon-headed protector of the lungs; the jackal-headed protector of the stomach; and the hawk-headed protector of the large intestines.
And representing India’s ethnographic antiquities, also going out at $2,500, was a sandstone bust of Lord Vishnu exuding a delicate and spiritual touch. This sculpture fragment was of the upper body with the head remaining and a portion of his right arm and lower legs missing.
Following the sale, Nowes commented, “We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of bidders, interest and sales in our first auction! We had a lot of fun, met some great new collectors and are excited to begin planning our next sale. We have already had people reach out with great collections and are negotiating with new consignors. Our offer of economical in-house shipping has been greatly appreciated by our clients. We understand auction houses today wash their hands of this process and leave buyers to fend for themselves. We are glad to provide this service at reasonable rates, so that buyers can spend their dollars where they want to — on the art itself. It also means that consignors get better returns.”
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, 917-414-8695 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
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