RELEASE | Christie's To Offer Important Egyptian Mummy Portraits, New York, October 25

New York



New York – On October 25, Christie’s sale of Antiquities is pleased to present two important Egyptian portraits on behalf of the heirs of Rudolf Mosse. Hauntingly lifelike, these remarkable portraits, an Egyptian encaustic on wood mummy portrait of a woman, Hadrianic period, circa 2nd century AD (estimate: $150,000-250,000) and an Egyptian encaustic on wood mummy portrait of a bearded man, circa 1st century AD (estimate: $100,000-150,000), are among the most extraordinary artistic achievements to survive from antiquity.

Egyptian mummy portraits date from the mid-1st to the 3rd century AD, and while they have been found in many sites throughout Egypt, they were discovered most prominently in the Fayum, which provided the generic name for all such painted portraits. These mummy portraits from Roman Egypt are among the most remarkable survivors from the ancient world, providing insight into Romano-Egyptian burial customs as well as style and fashion trends from the 1st-3rd century A.D.

These works were originally part of the extraordinary collection of Rudolf Mosse (1843 – 1920), the founder of a successful publishing and advertising company in Germany, which included the flagship newspaper Berliner Tageblatt. Mosse was a patron of the eminent Egyptologist Karl Brugsch and it seems likely that the mummy portraits were acquired from him. Following his death, the collection was inherited by his daughter Felicia Lachmann-Mosse. Within months of Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, the family was forced to flee Germany, and their publishing company, private assets and art collection were expropriated by the Nazi party. The art collection was ‘plucked’ by prominent Nazi supporters, and subsequently disbursed by auction.

These portraits were acquired in 1934 by Erich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front, and bought in 1979 by the University of Zürich from his widow, the actress Paulette Goddard- Remarque. Research by the University of Zürich led to their repatriation in 2015 to the Mosse Art Restitution Project.

Cataloguing and complete details of the sale is available on

About Christie’s

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had global auction, private and digital sales in the first half of 2018 that totalled £2.97 billion / $4.04 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.