Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Robin Symes material on the market

Antiquities handled by Robin Symes are always of interest. Three pieces are listed for the 9 December 2010 sale at Christie's, Rockefeller Plaza.

  • Lot 88: "A Cycladic Marble Reclining Female Figure". Attributed to the Schuster sculptor (or 'master' as Christie's choose to use the now obsolete terminology). Collecting history: Marion Schuster, Lausanne, acquired before 1965; in North American private collection in 1987 (Early Cycladic Art in North American Collections, no. 58); with Robin Symes, London, 1990s; U.S. Private Collection; with Phoenix Ancient Art, Geneva (c. 2006); 'Now owned by a private collector' (Phoenix Ancient Art). A report in the New York Times (Carol Vogel, "Potential Titian Buyers Get an Advance Look", October 28, 2010) states: 'And while Mr. Bernheimer will not identify the seller, people familiar with antiquities say the work is being sold by Michael Steinhardt, the Manhattan financier and collector, who is on Christie’s advisory board'. Estimate: $3-5 million. Pat Getz-Gentle, Personal Styles in Early Cycladic Sculpture (2001) 167-68 [reviewed here] lists 16 figures attributed to 'The Schuster sculptor'. Six of the items formed part of the 'Keros haul', while one was excavated on Keros. 
  • Lot 148: "A Roman Marble Draped Female Herm". Collecting history: "Sambon Collection, early 20th century"; "with Robin Symes, London, 1974"; "Property from the Collection of Max Palevsky". Estimate: $250,000-$350,000.
  • Lot 150: "A Roman Marble Head of Aphrodite". Collecting history: "with Robin Symes, London, 1974"; "Property from the Collection of Max Palevsky". Estimate: $150,000-$250,000.

These lots remind us that some material handled by Symes came from collections formed prior to 1970 (the date of the UNESCO Convention). This is why it is so important to establish full (and documented) collecting histories.

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David Gill said...

The Frick identified Steinhardt as the owner of the Cycladic figure.

David Gill said...



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