Phoenix Ancient Art to Unveil Exceptional Masterworks in Greek and Roman Art at the Paris Biennale des Antiquaires

NEW YORK, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ — Phoenix Ancient Art, one of the world’s most eminent galleries specializing in Classical Antiquities, is pleased to announce that it will exhibit in the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris at the Grand Palais (15-22 September 2010).  Hicham Aboutaam, co-owner of Phoenix Ancient Art, says, “We love the Biennale.  It provides the ideal setting for us to show our most significant works in the company of some of the most distinguished dealers in the world.  In addition to being the place where one can find the finest works of art on the market today, the Paris Biennale is also the most glamorous antiques fair in the world and  is always full of aesthetic surprises.”

Phoenix Ancient Art has participated in the last two Biennales, where the gallery has attracted an enormous amount of praise from both the public and the media.  The gallery has consistently shown exquisite masterpieces, displayed in stunning settings.  This year the tradition will continue.  Phoenix is certain to live up to even the highest expectations with a stand containing a wide range of antiquities.

Among the highlights:

(Photo: )

(Photo: )

Black-Figure Dinos with a Scene of a Boar Hunt

East Greek, or made in Etruria by an East Greek artist, ca. 540-520 B.C., from the “Campana” Group, attributed to the Ribbon Painter


Height 19.7 cm (7.7 in.)

An impeccable dinos — a container without a foot or handles that was used for mixing wine — dating from circa 540-520 B.C. is a spectacular survival. In ancient literature, dinoi were said to have been given as prizes at games.  The form became popular at the beginning if the sixth century B.C.  This vessel comes from the “Campana” Group of East Greek artists who likely worked in Etruria,  and is credited to the Ribbon Painter,  the leading painter of the group, to whom some fifteen vases have been attributed.  The burnished clay fabric of the vessel has been fired to a glossy deep orange surface,  the slip for the decorative bands and figures to a glossy deep black.

On the sides of the dinos are five nude running youth engaged in a boar hunt.  The two boars, one on each side, are overly large in scale, almost as tall as the youth themselves, which indicates that this was no ordinary boar hunt.  The Ribbon Painter was likely inspired by the famous hunt in Greek myth, that of the Calydonian boar, first referenced in Homer’s Iliad.  The story tells of King Oeneus of Calydon, who neglected to sacrifice the annual first fruits to Artemis.  The goddess, in revenge, sent a wild boar to ravage the countryside.  The task of assembling hunters and hounds to kill the boar was left to Meleager, the son of Oeneus.  Based upon surviving examples of Athenian black-figure vases, the first half of the sixth century B.C. was the greatest period for production of the Calydonian boar hunt.

(Photo: )

(Photo: )

Equestrian Figure of Alexander the Great

Greek, Hellenistic, 3rd-2nd century B.C.


Height: 49.0 cm (19.3 in.)

A magnificent equestrian figure of a young Alexander the Great, dating from the Hellenistic period, 3rd -2nd century B.C. and measuring 49 cm (19.3 in.).  Very few bronze figures of Alexander exist, all smaller, and no exact parallels to this one are known.  The young Macedonian king was originally astride a horse, with his upper legs firmly grasping the horse’s back and his lower legs spread outward and extended back.  His upraised right arm is bent at the elbow, with the hand positioned to grasp a spear or a lance.  The lowered left arm, also bent at the elbow, extends forward with the hand grasping the reins.

Alexander‘s body is idealized to represent physical perfection and, as is typical for an image of the young ruler, his gaze is directed upward with his head turned to the left.  The face is well-formed with full lips, an angular nose and expressive eyes, all framed by windblown and wildly curling locks of hair.  These physical aspects embody this figure with the richness of detail and sensuality characteristic of Hellenistic sculpture, as well as the superhuman stature and noble presence for which Alexander was noted in ancient times.

This sculpture of Alexander is believed by scholars to have been inspired by a monumental work, Alexander on Horseback, created in antiquity by the sculptor Lysippos.  It was reported by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia, circa 77-79 A.D., that Alexander issued an edict that only Lysippos should be permitted to cast his figure in bronze, and Plutarch, in his Life of Alexander, written 75 A.D., wrote that Alexander‘s “outward appearance is best conveyed by portraits of Lysippos, the only sculptor whom the king thought was good enough to represent him …”  The original sculpture, created to commemorate Alexander‘s first victory in his military campaigns to conquer Persia, was erected in the sanctuary of Olympia Zeus at Zion and later moved to Rome.  It is now lost to us.

(Photo: )

(Photo: )

Statue of Leto Holding Apollo and Artemis

Roman, Imperial Period, 2nd c. A.D. (copy of 5th century B.C. original)


Height 98.0 cm (38.6 in.)

An outstanding marble group of Leto and her two children, Apollo and Artemis, dating from the Roman Imperial Period, 2nd century A.D.  The entire work is carved in the round from a single piece of very fine-grained marble.  The group is in excellent condition and almost completely intact, with the exception of a missing left forearm of Leto and part of the body of the child Apollo, whom Leto carries in the crook of her arm.  The sculptural group resembles a Greek original dating from the 5th century B.C.

Both of Leto’s children were  fathered by Zeus, a circumstance that  attracted the wrath and jealousy of his wife, Hera, who sought to make Leto’s life miserable by having her followed everywhere, and forbidding the entire earth to give her shelter when she went into labor.  Hera persecuted Leto, causing her to escape to Delphi.   It was here that Hera sent the Python to attack them.  After this episode, which this group refers to by depicting a serpent slithering between the legs of Leto and climbing up her robes, Apollo is said to have killed Python with a bow and arrow.  He then took over the site of Delphi, and consecrated a temple and its oracle.

(Photo: )

(Photo: )

Belt with Heracles Knot

Greek, late 4th-early 3rd century B.C.

Gold, garnet and emerald green glass

L. 73 cm   (28.7 in)

L. 4 cm, W. 2.5 cm (knot)

L. 2.5 cm, W. 2.2 cm (buckle)

The elegant shape and design of this gold belt epitomize the finest Greek jewelry and the transition from Classical taste to the aesthetic ideas of the Hellenistic period.  The balanced decorative elements include the repetition of floral motifs, and the restrained use of colored stones that enhance the gold work and add a touch of nature — all characteristics that reflect the wealth of this period.

The belt is comprised of three main parts: a large Heracles knot in the center, and, on each side, a flat strap of interlinked  gold chains. The Heracles knot — our modern square knot — made of two hollow, interlocking loops,  became a leading motif in jewelry around the time that this one was made.

The ninth labor of Heracles was to bring back  the belt of Hippolyte, queen of the Amazons.  The belt was said to give supremacy and power to the wearer.  We do not know what Hippolyte’s belt looked like, but elaborate belts like this example certainly added to the owner’s status and prestige.


Created by the Syndicat des Antiquaires,  the Biennale des Antiquaires made its debut in 1962 and now celebrates its 25th year.  The glamorous fair brings together top international antiques dealers in a wide range of specialties from antiquities to 20th century furniture which are exhibited under the enormous glass roof of the Grand Palais, a Beaux Arts structure built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900.  The Biennale has been held there from its inception, except when it was closed for restoration from 1993-2006.  There is no more stunning exhibition space in the world.


Among the world’s finest dealers in Classical Antiquities, Phoenix Ancient Art ( is a second generation business, with elegant galleries in New York City and Geneva, Switzerland that display pieces of exceptional beauty and rarity that represent more than 7,000 years of human creativity, from the Neolithic period to the Middle Ages.  A second-generation business founded by Sleiman Aboutaam in 1968,  the galleries are run by his sons, Ali and Hicham, both of whom have a deep knowledge of and great love for the artistic heritage of Western Civilization.

SOURCE Phoenix Ancient Art