An Egyptian/Roman Theater LOT to talk about

Auction houses like Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Phillips and others offer free admission to selling exhibitions for a few days before each auction. From time to time I will select notable auction lots to bring to your attention. This blog feature is not endorsed by the auction house nor written by any kind of art expert. Just idle musings that I hope encourages you to visit an auction house yourself to see what’s on view and available in New York City.

As part of their Classics Week, Christies is offering up a sales of Antiquities on April 18 and the exhibit opens on April 13.  Antiquities used to be a powerhouse at New York auction houses decades ago but have steadily declined as questions of cultural theft, authentication and war booty has steadily eaten away at the cache these items have.  I am a huge fan of Roman history and of the origins of theater so this lot simply calls out to me.  They are fragmentary portions of theater masks used in the the 1st century BC to 1st century AD.  The masks were made of glass or clay, split in the middle and strapped to the actor’s face.  Oh, the indignity of being an actor even then.  These are likely to be a depiction of the God Dionysus, popular as the chosen divine role model of Marc Antony as he retreated to Egypt during his civil war.  So add wine to my list of interests (and Elizabeth Taylor movies so we have a winner).  It is Lot 96 so you can sleep in a bit on auction day and valued as $3K to $5K so a perfect birthday gift for me.  Come see the dwindling Antiquities offerings and experience a bit of history.  Don’t worry, it’s good for you!


As always you can find more at and on Twitter @walterthinnes


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