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A Marble Torso of an Emperor, Roman Imperial, Julio-Claudian, 1st half of the 1st Century A.D. photo Sotheby’s

11 June 2010, New York, NY – In a packed salesroom at Sotheby’s this afternoon, a Marble Torso of an Emperor (probably Augustus, Tiberius or Claudius), Roman Imperial, Julio Claudian, 1st Half of the 1st Century A.D., surpassed all expectations, selling for a remarkable $7,362,500, more than six times the high estimate of $1.2 million*. At least seven bidders in the room and on numerous telephones pursued the stunning piece, which was from an Austrian family collection. The salesroom erupted in applause when an anonymous bidder, participating over the telephone, cast the winning bid.

The Marble Torso of an Emperor was included in a sale of Antiquities which totaled $17,479,940 (est. $3.2/4.8 million), the highest total for a sale in this category at Sotheby’s since December 2007. Of the lots that sold in today’s sale, nearly 90% achieved prices at or above their estimates.

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A Marble Torso of an Emperor, Roman Imperial, Julio-Claudian, 1st half of the 1st Century A.D. photo Sotheby’s

height 43 5/16 in. 110 cm. Estimate 800,000—1,200,000 USD Lot Sold 7,362,500 USD to an anonymous

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A Marble Bust of the Athena Giustiniani, Roman Imperial, circa 2nd Century A.D. photo Sotheby’s

height from modern base 22 5/8 in. 57.5 cm. Estimate 600,000—900,000 USD Lot Sold 4,114,500 USD to an Anonymous Private Buyer

The same Austrian family collection that consigned the aforementioned torso had also consigned Three Satyrs Fighting a Serpent, Roman Imperial, circa 1st century A.D., a rediscovered antiquity from the collection of one of the greatest arts patrons of all time – Lorenzo de’ Medici. As the only ancient sculpture confirmed to have been in ‘il  Magnifico’s’ collection, competition was also fierce for the ancient treasure, which finally sold to an anonymous private buyer for $3,442,500, more than six times the high estimate of $500,000. The cover lot of the auction, a Marble Bust of the Athena Giustiniani, Roman Imperial, circa 2nd Century A.D. was also among the highlights of the day, selling for $4,114,500, surpassing a pre-sale estimate of $600/900,000.

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A Marble Group of Three Satyrs Fighting a Serpent, Roman Imperial, circa 1st Century A.D. photo Sotheby’s

25 1/4 by 31 1/2 in. 64.1 by 80 cm. Estimate 300,000—500,000 USD Lot Sold ,442,500 USD to an Anonymous Private Buyer

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A Cycladic Marble Figure of a Goddess, Early Bronze Age II, early Spedos, circa 2600-2500 B.C. photo Sotheby’s

height 8 3/4 in. 22.2 cm. Estimate 180,000—250,000 USD Lot Sold 446,500 USD to a Spanish Collection

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An Attic Black-figured Amphora, attributed to the Swing Painter, circa 540-530 B.C. photo Sotheby’s

with echinus foot, cylindrical handles, and flaring mouth, the body painted in front with a gigantomachy showing Athena and Ares fighting two giants, Athena holding a shield emblazoned with a bird and wearing a peplos and Attic helmet, Ares wearing a chlamys and Corinthian helmet, the reverse painted with a man preparing for battle and flanked by two himation-clad bearded men and two youths, a panel of festooned palmette lotuses above each scene, rays above the foot, the details in red and white, graffito under the foot; height 19 1/16 in. 48.4 cm. Estimate 125,000—175,000 USD Lot Sold 230,500 USD to an U.S. Trade

PROVENANCE: Spink & Son, Ltd., London
Leon Pomerance Collection, New York (Sotheby's, New York, November 24th-25th, 1987, no. 115, illus.)

EXHIBITED: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Ancient Art from New York Private Collections," December 17th, 1959, to February 28th, 1960
The Brooklyn Museum, "The Pomerance Collection of Ancient Art," June 14th, to October 2nd, 1966
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut,1988-2008

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: John D. Beazley, Attic Black-figure Vase-painters, Oxford, 1956, p. 693, no. 34bis (Addendum to pp. 304-310)
The Pomerance Collection of Ancient Art, exhibition catalogue, The Brooklyn Museum, New York, 1966, no. 112, illus.
John D. Beazley, Paralipomena, Oxford, 1971, p. 132
T.H. Carpenter, T. Mannack, and M. Mendonca, Beazley Addenda, 2nd ed., Oxford, 1989, p. 81
Ancient Art from New York Private Collections, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, catalogue of the exhibition, New York, 1959, p. 52, no. 199, pls. 74-75
Elke Böhr, Der Schaukelmaler, 1982, pp. 10, 22, 31f., 47, and 79, pl. 11
E. Böhr and W. Martini, eds., Studien zur Mythologie und Vasenmalerei. Festschrift für Konrad Schauenburg, Mainz am Rhein, 1986, p. 39
Beazley Pottery Archive Database, no. 306602

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An Egyptian Limestone Relief Fragment, Amarna, 18th Dynasty, late in the reign of Akhenaten, circa 1340-1335 B.C. photo Sotheby’s 

8 5/8 by 10 1/4 in. 22 by 26 cm. Estimate 50,000—70,000 USD Lot Sold 230,500 USD  to a Private Collection.

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An Alabaster Figure of a Woman, Inscribed for the Lady Aftâm, Southern Arabia, Qatabân, circa 3rd Century B.C./1st Century A.D. photo Sotheby’s

height 14 3/4 in. 37.5 cm. Estimate 30,000—50,000 USD Lot Sold 122,500 USD to an American Private Collector

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A Marble Head of the Young Commodus as Crown Prince, Roman Imperial, circa A.D. 175-177. photo Sotheby’s

height 11 3/4 in. 30 cm. Estimate 25,000—35,000 USD Lot Sold 80,500 USD to an American Private Collector

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An Egyptian Sandstone Lintel and Door Jamb Relief Fragment from a Chapel Dedicated to Osiris-Ouâou, probably Karnak, 25th Dynasty, reign of Taharqa, 690-664 B.C. photo Sotheby’s

17 by 38 in. 43.2 by 96.5 cm. Estimate 10,000—15,000 USD Lot Sold 80,500 USD to Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University

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An Egyptian Granite Head of a King, 30th Dynasty, 380-342 B.C. photo Sotheby’s

height 9 3/4 in. 24.8 cm. Estimate 50,000—80,000 USD Lot Sold 62,500 USD to an Anonymous

Sotheby's, Antiquities, 11 Jun 10, New York www.sothebys.com