Ancient art is making a comeback. This has been happening for a while, in a variety of fields. Denver Art Museum’s newest exhibit features the ancient art of samurai, with Japanese suits of armor. Some of the 140 objects being exhibited date back 900 years. Then there is the “Mnemosyne: de Chirico and Antiquity” which is joining the trend of bringing antiquities to modern day art.
Co-owners of antiquities art gallery Phoenix Ancient Art, Ali Aboutaam and his brother Hicham Aboutaam, have seen the resurgence of ancient art in recent times through various exhibitions. One of them was the Mnemosyne mentioned above, that as Hicham said, has sought to “cultivate an environment in which antiquities are appreciated in a modern context.”
It is not just gallery art that fuses the modern with the ancient. Indeed, some sports have been doing that as well. Perhaps the best known one is yoga which, according to the Yoga Journal stems from the word “yug” (translated as to hitch up from Sanskrit). It is believed that it was developed by Patanjali, who lived more than 2,000 years ago and is known as the father of yoga.
Modern art collectors who are taking an interest in antiquities seem to be especially attracted to Cycladic art that come from the third millennium BC era on the Cyclades islands. According to Antiquities specialist at Christie’s, Alexandra Olsman, “When the pieces are abstracted and have clean, more-modernist lines, the contemporary or modern art collectors are more drawn to them.”
Antiquities art is quite the financially successful investment, too. In December of last year, Christie’s sold its Cycladic marble female figure from this time period for a staggering $87,500; a figure that was substantially above its pre-sale $50,000-$70,000 price estimation.
But how does an antiquities novice start the buying purchase? According to archaeologist and American University of Rome president, Richard Hodges, the most important aspect is to “obtain an ironclad guarantee from the seller proving the legality of work they own. Be sure the piece has a provenance with documentation of ownership that dates before 1970.”
Hear from Hicham Aboutaam of Phoenix Ancient Art about the rise in interest in antiques with modern collectors.