Certainly, there are many exquisite items in Hicham Aboutaam and Ali Aboutaam’s galleries. One highlight is the Seated Woman with a Bird. This rare bronze statue comes from the Greek Geometric period of the 7th century B.C. It was created in the Daedalic style, which was an early sculptural development named after the artist who was said to have introduced human respresentations.
Some of this antique’s Daedalic characteristics include her linear frontal pose, her wig-like hair and her large, almond-shaped eyes.
As Hicham Aboutaam from Phoenix Ancient Art explains, she may actually be the original of the goddess Aphrodite, as she would come to be known. This is particularly true if the bird in her hand is a dove, which was often associated with Aphrodite. Mr. Aboutaam says that there are only a small number of bronzes from this period. One such famous bronze is “Mantiklos” Apollo which is featured in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. This Seated Woman with a Bird shares a number of anatomical features with the “Mantiklos” Apollo, including the wide, rectangular shoulders that smoothly transition to extended arms.
This stunning antique sits 2.6 inches high and has a solid cast with a bluish green patina.
The 21st edition of the International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show at the Park Avenue Armory wrapped up in October. This year’s show included 65 exhibitors and a new energy for admiring and purchasing antiques and other art that had not been seen in recent years.
Phoenix Ancient Art, owned by Ali Aboutaam and Hicham Aboutaam, displayed a breathtaking torso of a nude male youth in Roman black basalt. The piece dates from the late 1st century AD and was priced at $8 million. There was certainly interest in the piece, both from collectors and museums, according to gallery co-owner Hicham Aboutaam.
Other art dealers included Apter-Fredericks of London, London book dealer Bernard Shapero, New York antiques dealer Ariadne Galleries and many others. The show was a great success and was enjoyed by all present.
Collectors acquire art for several different reasons. Some buy to beautify their surroundings, to decorate their homes with things that enhance the world their daily lives. Some collect for status and others to show off their knowledge and taste. But appreciating and collecting ancient art has an added, deeper dimension, one which Ali and Hicham Aboutaam never tire of explaining. Of course, collecting is about beauty and appreciation of design and style, but it is also about heritage, history, posterity, legacies and more. The owner is really but a trusted guardian of an object, preserving it for generations to come. No one really “owns” an antiquity; one is merely a caretaker.