• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12257

    Antiquities

    25 October 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 97

    A ROMAN MARBLE ARCHAISTIC HEAD OF A GODDESS

    CIRCA 1ST-EARLY 2ND CENTURY A.D.

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A ROMAN MARBLE ARCHAISTIC HEAD OF A GODDESS
    CIRCA 1ST-EARLY 2ND CENTURY A.D.
    12 in. (30.4 cm.) high


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    On account of the absence of specific attributes, the identity of this enigmatic goddess cannot easily be ascertained. While the crescentic diadem is found on depictions of numerous different goddesses, the corkscrew curls falling in front of the ears may indicate that Isis was intended.

    The head was originally in the collection of Karl Wittgenstein (1847-1913), Vienna,; and inherited by his daughter, Margaret Wittgenstein-Stonborough. Archival images from 1931 show the present head on display in her home, Haus Wittegenstein, which she commissioned in 1926. Her home was confiscated by the Nazis during World War II for use as a hospital, and then during the post-war occupation by the Russians it served as the barracks of a cavalry unit. Many assets, including this head, were preserved for the family by a loyal employee who buried objects of value in the basement, only to be returned to the family after the home was restituted. Haus Wittgenstein remained in the family until 1968; it is now used by the Bulgarian Cultural Institute.


    Provenance

    Karl Wittgenstein (1847-1913), Vienna;
    thence by descent to his daughter, Margaret Wittgenstein-Stonborough (1882-1958);
    thence by descent.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF KARL WITTGENSTEIN