Christie's to sell the $3 million Guennol Stargazer statue



2017-03-27 09:17:53

A 5,000-year-old sculpture known as the Guennol Stargazer could sell for more than $3 million when it hits the auction block at Christie's next month.

The statues are known as Kiliya-type 'Stargazers' due to positions of their heads – tilted slightly back and pointed towards the heavens – and are named after the site of their original discovery at Kiliya, near Gallipoli on Turkey's Gelibolu peninsula.

Just 15 full examples have ever been discovered, most with their heads snapped off at the neck, suggesting that they may have been ritually "killed" before their burial.

"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," said G. Max Bernheimer, International Head of Antiquities at Christie's.

"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."

The last marble Kiliya-type Stargazer offered at auction was The Schuster Stargazer, which sold at Christie’s in New York in June 2005 for $1,808,000.

The statue offered at Christie's takes its name from the world-renowned Guennol Collection to which it once belonged.

The collection was assembled by art collectors Alastair Bradly Martin and his wife Edith, who used the Welsh term for their surname Martin – "Guennol" – as its title, having spent their fondly-remembered honeymoon in Wales.

Also originating from the same collection was the Guennol Lioness – a 5,000-year-old Mesopotamian statue which sold for $57.2 million at Sotheby's in 2007, making it the world's most valuable antiquity ever sold at auction.

The Guennol Stargazer will now be sold, having spent more than 40 years on long-term loan The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The Christie's Exceptional Sale takes place in New York on April 28.

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