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  • Press release
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  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 24 March 2017

PRESS RELEASE : The Guennol Stargazer  

OFFERED AT CHRISTIE’S EXCEPTIONAL SALE ON APRIL 28, NEW YORK

AN ANATOLIAN MARBLE FEMALE IDOL OF KILIYA TYPE, CHALCOLITHIC PERIOD, CIRCA 3000-2200 B.C.

New York – Christie’s announces that The Guennol Stargazer, one of the finest and largest preserved Anatolian marble female idols of Kiliya type, is the top lot of the Exceptional Sale on April 28 (estimate on request). The Guennol Stargazer is from the Chalcolithic Period, circa 3000-2200 B.C., and it is considered to be one of the most impressive of its type known in existence. The Guennol Stargazer is further distinguished by its exhibition history, having been on loan at The Metropolitan Museum of Art at various periods from 1966 to 2007.

“The Antiquities department is thrilled to be offering the Guennol Stargazer in the Exceptional Sale, an iconic work of art and one universally recognized as the finest Kiliya idol in existence. This extremely rare work, though dating to the 3rd millennium B.C., is widely appreciated across collecting categories, and was a source of inspiration for 20th century masters for its sleek and modern appeal,” comments G. Max Bernheimer, International Head of Antiquities.

Stargazer” is the colloquial title derived from the slightly tilted-back angle at which the large head rests on the thin neck, thus creating the whimsical impression of a celestial stare. There are only about 15 nearly complete idols that survive, although fragmentary examples, particularly heads, abound. Most of the complete examples have been broken across the neck, as the present figure, suggesting that the sculptures were ritually “killed” at the time of burial. 

PROVENANCE

The Guennol Stargazer maintains an impressive provenance. It was a part of the Guennol collection, which was formed by prominent art collectors Alastair Bradly Martin and his wife, Edith. The title “Guennol” is the Welsh word for “Martin,” the last name of the first modern owners. The choice of Welsh is an allusion to the place where they spent their honeymoon. The Stargazer was then passed by descent and acquired by the current owner, a New York private collector, in August 1993 from the Merrin Gallery.

Notes to Editors:

The last marble example of Kiliya type that appeared at auction was The Schuster Stargazer, which sold at Christie’s New York on June 5, 2005 for $1,808,000

Stargazer idols have strong appeal to collectors of all types of art, from Ancient to Contemporary, predominantly due to their similarities with modern art. The sleek and abstract form of Kiliya idols resonates with 20th century masters such as Brancusi, Modigliani and Moore.  

The exceptional nature of the objects included in the Guennol Collection is legendary – in December 2007, the Guennol Lioness, a Mesopotamian limestone sculpture, fetched $57.1 million, setting a record price at auction for an ancient work of art.

The Exceptional Sale is during Christie’s Classic Week, a marquee week of sales in April, which includes Antiquities, Old Masters, European Sculpture and Japanese and Korean Art.

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.