Including a “Head of a Pharaoh in red jasper”, first exhibited in 1998, but no other information what its provenance is/was? No information on this auction to be found on the Christies site. So where did it come from, I wonder?
Egyptomania! Blockbuster antiquities sale at Christie’s New York includes 5 lots at over $1 million each:
Leading the sale is an Egyptian Head of a Pharaoh in red jasper, one of the rarest and most beautiful Egyptian works of art to appear at auction in decades (estimate: $3,000,000-$5,000,000). Nearly 4 inches high, the superbly sculpted head was originally part of a composite statue in which the face, hands and feet were all carved from a bright red jasper, a material that was used only rarely for larger statuary. The rest of the statue likely was carved from alabaster, limestone, or wood. The original complete statue would have stood about 36 inches high.
Since this red jasper head was first presented to the public at the Antikenmuseum Basel, where it was exhibited between 1998 and 2011, there has been intense scholarly debate as to the identity of the Pharaoh depicted. There are close stylistic parallels, in the shape of the head and the aquiline nose, to portraits of the 18th Dynasty female Pharaoh Hatshepsut and her stepson Thutmose III. Others see, in the treatment of the lips and the subtle creases on the neck, a close resemblance to portraits of the 19th Dynasty Pharaoh Seti I and his son Ramesses II. No matter the identity of the Pharaoh portrayed, the glorious qualities of the art of the New Kingdom are perfectly encapsulated in this exquisite red jasper portrait.
(Via Art Daily.)
Update 22 Nov: in the Christie’s catalogue (Flash) the provenance is listed as “Acquired by the current owner, Paris, 1977”. There are three publications listed on the item (two in German) all post-dating 1998, and which all look like exhibition catalogue entries. There are other possibly dodgy items (“the provenance has too many red flags”) too.