Frieze Masters Angles for New Collectors with Precious Antiquities, including Egyptian wood sculpture
Oct 15th, 2015 10:49 pm
Documenta 14 artistic director Adam Szymczyk has been a prominent face around the art fair circuit this year, as preparations for his 2017 edition of the quinquennial exhibition kick into top gear. In London on Thursday, Szymczyk wasn’t spotted scoping emerging talent at Frieze London’s Focus section but rather a 14th-century B.C. Egyptian cosmetic spoon at Sycomore Ancient Art’s stand at Frieze Masters.
Antiquity dealers aren’t what the masses have come to expect from Frieze, which is most known as a stage for knighting the next generation of blue–chip art stars. But this year, director Victoria Siddall has a surprise in store for visitors to Masters. Collections, a new section of eight booths curated by Sir Norman Rosenthal—whose illustrious CV includes shows such as “Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection” in 1997, “Monet in the 20th Century” in 1999, and “Aztecs” in 2002—highlights pieces that fall mostly outside the realm of fine art proper, each conceived as a stepping off point for a museum exhibition.
Alongside the bijou cosmetic spoon (price: €300,000), Sycomore shows a wide selection of ancient Egyptian sculpture, all made from wood. “It’s really the first time someone is showing only ancient Egyptian wooden sculptures,” says Zielinski. “It took quite some time to bring together all the different pieces. We had some in our stock, but it’s really rare to see something like this.” The star of the booth is an exceedingly rare piece, High Ranking Official Standing on a Base in a Striding Position (circa 2550–2500 B.C.). Its price was undisclosed, though Zielinski did hint, “I had one viewer who pointed to that sculpture and said ‘Oh, it’s like a Giacometti.’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s one-tenth the price.’” (Other pieces on view can be had for as little as €15,000.)