“There is no more supply. What is rare now will be even more rare in ten years. If a major find should be made in any of the source nations, it would be impossible for it to reach the market. The more you hold on to ancient objects, the more valuable they will become. Of course, the moment that somebody decides to sell something, it is usually expected that he will get less than he will like. But the moment a buyer decides to buy something, he is expected to pay a little more than the market value. Antiquities are traditional, not something that goes in and out of fashion. They have always been collected throughout history.”
A Roman marble bust of the Greek philosopher Plato (427-347 BCE) has several characteristics that date its composition to at least the second half of the second century. Yet, the sculptor’s renditions of the philosopher’s beard and mustache are in the style of the Greek Classical Period (5th-4th century BCE). Perhaps the bust is a copy of an earlier Greek version? What we do know for certain is that the Romans loved to keep portraits of the great Greek philosophers in their libraries, where scrolls of the writings of Plato and Aristotle were housed.
The 26 cm. (10.2 inch) sculpture is currently on view and for sale at Phoenix Ancient Art. Like many of the works to be found in the gallery, it evokes a sense of the time in which it was made. Hicham and Ali Aboutaam, the owners of Phoenix Ancient Art, like the educational aspect as well as the beauty of antiquities. In this superb bust we can learn a bit about the culture of the Romans of the second century.
In late October, 2009, the Old City of Geneva celebrated its [newly revived appearance] with an art show featuring 16 local amidst the regular permanent GENEVA galleries such as Bang and Olufsen, and Michael Castellino, who showed an unknown local Geneva artist by the name of Philippe Jaccard.
The center of the fair was Phoenix Ancient Art on Verdaine Street. Especially prominent in the gallery was the exhibition, “Goddesses”, lovingly exhibited by proprietors Ali and Hicham Aboutaam. A visit to Phoenix Ancient Art can be as enjoyable as a visit to an art museum, with the added bonus of no admission charge.
Some of the ancient art on view at Phoenix is even more marvelous than what is found in many museums. After all, what public institution has anything like this incredible marble statuette from the Cyclades which somehow, by some miracle, is completely intact?
The Geneva branch of Phoenix Ancient Art will be opening a new exhibit from October 29 and to extend until November 25, 2009. Ali and Hicham Aboutaam cordially invite you to visit and enjoy:
Divinités Féminines des Civilisations Méditerranéennes
Roughly translated as Goddesses: Feminine Deities of Mediterranean Civilisations.
“The Geneva Gallery is located at 6, rue Verdaine. The Aboutaams hope to see you there.
The brother team that makes Phoenix Ancient Art, Ali Aboutaam and Hicham Aboutaam, believes that collecting antiquities is more than just a hobby or even a financial investment option, but that the collector acquires a personal connection to the objects. Articles that have existed through the ages are more than mere items of beauty for they carry with them tremendous worth as testimony to ages gone by.
Antiquities have always served as an inspiration to writers, artists and others. This art connects us to the past cultures in which we can find the roots of our civilizations. When you collect antiquities you also connect to the past and the ancestors and fathers of modern society.
Phoenix Ancient Art, founded by S. Aboutaam, and now under the management of his sons, Ali Aboutaam and Hicham Aboutaam, ensures that their clients always sense the history, culture and beauty contained within each piece that is exhibited and sold by Phoenix and the Aboutaam brothers.
Hicham Aboutaam of Phoenix Ancient Art offers objects from a huge range of time periods and geographical locations. One of the more astounding artifacts on offer is a Scythian bamboo bow and quiver set. This remarkably preserved set is from the 3rd to 1st century. The state of preservation is astounding, with wood and leather paint almost perfect.
Also incredible is the fact that this set has remained together through the ages. The bamboo bow is shaped into a triple curve, the center curve for hand placement, and the top and bottom curves to increase the action of the bowstring.
Scythian refers to a group comprised of many tribes which were nomadic. They spoke the Iranian language and roamed throughout the area from the Danube river plains to the Central Asia steppes and eastward to Siberia.
The Scythian main occupation was as warriors, and even Scythian women were welcomed to fight in battles.
This artifact is quite a find, not just for its inherent beauty but for its historical value as well.
A fascinating new trend seems to be developing in the world of collecting art and antiquities; and that is the increase in the number of children participating in this unquestionably sophisticated and pricey hobby.
Growing up in the mid to late 20th century, children’s collections were usually composed of stamps, postcards, bottle caps, and if the child had an extraordinarily large allowance, coins.
Today, however, as a general boom in art and wealth is experienced in society, especially among younger people who are raising their children with a keen desire to give them the best possible education and a taste for high culture, children are more often participating in auctions or purchasing great works of art in galleries.
According to Hugh Hildesley , executive vice president of Sotheby’s , when he joined the esteemed auction house in 1961 children were never present at sales. “Children were unheard of, and we would have discouraged their presence,” he remembers. In 2007 alone there have been upwards of a dozen children present, as onlookers or even bidders, at both auction previews as well as sales.
At age 4 Dakota King began collecting contemporary art in 2002. Among her more than 40-piece collection is a Panda from Andy Warhol’s series on endangered species. “Panda is darling and chubby and cute, and at night he protects me,” Dakota comments.
Along with modern art there are children that are also collecting antiquities. Soliman Aboutaam, age nine, collects Greek and Roman coins because he enjoys the “monsters” imprinted on the ancient currency, such as griffins and chimeras. Their father, Hicham Aboutaam, an antiquities dealer and co-owner of Phoenix Ancient Art with his brother Ali Aboutaam, began the collection for his two sons. The younger son, Alexander, age seven is learning proper care for his 2,000 year old coins. They are always careful to just hold the coins along the rim, “so that the front doesn’t erase,” Soliman says.
Still, these “small collectors” are unusual despite the fact that the trend seems to be increasing. Andrew Reed, owner of a $3,000 painting called “Smurf” by Michael Vasquez, says his friends are not too interested in his prized painting. “What my friends really like are my baseball cards.”
Having developed an impeccable reputation as ancient art dealers, the Aboutaam brothers, Ali and Hicham, of Phoenix Ancient Art, can be depended upon to acquire extraordinary works of art of high historical and artistic value.
Among the Aboutaams’ many offerings is a significant figure from circa 2200 B.C.E. of black chlorite believed to represent a Near Eastern demon known as the Narbemann, or “scarred man.”
Although the demon is frequently represented as a scaly man with a striking gash on his face, this particular representation is smooth-skinned. The tell-tale scar is present on the right side where the original ivory inlay is still complete clearly signifying that this is a representation of more than four thousand years old of the Narbemann.
Bringing ancient art to the widest possible range of people has been one of Hicham Aboutaam’s dreams.
Now, with the lauching of e-tiquities, Hicham’s dream is virtually coming true. As of May 1st, 2009 anyone with internet access and a desire to enter the world of rare and beautiful antiquities can easily bring his desire to fruition.
Whether your interest is in an antiquities auction or in antiquities for sale, both can be achieved at e-tiquities. Ranging in price from only $500 to $25,000, there is something available to just about anyone on this on-line gallery/auction house.
E-tiquities is the virtual version of the very real and quite well known gallery Phoenix Ancient Art. Located in two central locales, New York City and Geneva, Phoenix Ancient Art is one of the world’s most respected and reliable outlets for beautiful and rare antiquities. Hicham Aboutaam, co-owner with his brother Ali, explains some of his goals for e-tiquities:
“In launching e-tiquities by Phoenix Ancient Art, we hope both to introduce a new audience to the cultures of the ancient world, and to give our existing clients an easy way to expand their collections. One of the things which makes Phoenix Ancient Art special in our field is the guarantee of authenticity that we provide to our clients, whether they buy works in our galleries or on our new website. Over the years, we’ve developed procedures to establish provenance (chain of ownership) to ensure that our pieces are both authentic and on the market in accordance with international law.”