Faiences – New York 2011
New York Gallery
Dealers often have a special affinity with the objects that come into their possession. As a result they are sometimes confl icted between placing the object to their inventory for sale or retaining it for themselves. The some of the works of art in this exhibition were initially collected by Sleiman Aboutaam and remained in the family where they were admired and studied by his sons, Ali and Hicham. Inspired by their father, who instilled in his sons a great love for and fi rst-hand knowledge of antiquities, Ali and Hicham, as the second generation of antiquarians, continued their father’s practice and added works of art to that core, private collection of faience objects. The faience works of art on view in this exhibition are, therefore, possessed of a certain sentimental value because they served the Aboutaam family as examples of masterpieces in faience. Their attraction was furthered by knowing that these works of art came from famed, older established collections of such connoisseurs as Charles Gillot, Baron Empain, Félix-Bienaimé Feuardent, San Giorgi, Daniel-Marie Fouquet, Spencer-Churchill, Charles Ratton, Gawain McKinley, Guy Weil Goudchaux or Roger Liechti. Those collectors were known for their aesthetic taste and the objects in their possession were traditionally of the highest quality. We think that this collective attraction to faience resonates with the properties of this special material, whose scintillating, refl ective characteristics imbue their surfaces with a sparkling quality often associated with gem stones. It is no wonder, then, that the ancients regarded faience as a privileged material and saw in it symbolic properties which were associated with their spiritual view of their cosmos. For the Egyptians the material was techenet, and its turquoise-green or lapis-blue hues connoted resurrection and rebirth, on the model of the diurnal rising and setting of the sun, just as the white hues connoted purity and cleanliness. We are, therefore, delighted to be able present this exhibition in which one will fi nd an extraordinary range of objects coming from cultures representing the wide spectrum of the ancient world. Intercalated with examples from all periods of ancient Egypt one will fi nd early Sumerian creations of the third millennium BC, exquisite examples from Bronze Age Ugarit, Ras Shamra, and early Susa. These are complement by sophisticated works from the early Iron Age assigned to the Western Asiatic centers at Ziwiye, Ras Shamra, and Assyria. Examples from the Hellenistic Syria, the Sassanian and Roman Imperial Empires represent the most recent creations in this most malleable of ancient artistic materials.