new York – Christie’s presents the Spring Sale of Antiques June 4, which includes more than 170 lots, offering a range of ancient objects from the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern worlds, including two distinguished private collections. The Cattaui Family Collection features an excellent assemblage of Egyptian and classical works of art, including a rare bronze kneeling Egyptian figure of Pharaoh Necho from the 26th Dynasty and an Egyptian limestone relief from the Amarna period. The ancient Near East is represented by the collection of the eminent New York merchant Elias S. David (1891-1969), with a wide variety of wedge-shaped objects made of clay, copper and stone. To this exceptional set will be added a selection of Greek vases, including an amphora formerly from the Collection of William Randolph Hearst and a group of Attic and southern Italian vases from the Collection of Emile Foltzer, Switzerland.


Christie’s is pleased to offer the Cattaui Family’s Ancient Art Collection, an impressive collection of Egyptian and classical art. It was formed with great passion over several generations, starting in the middle of the 19th century. The Cattaui are a prominent family formerly based in Cairo and the collection was started by family patriarch Joseph Aslan Cattaui Pasha (1861-1942). Members of the Cattaui family have been generous donors to museums since the 19th century, such as the National Museum of Alexandria and the Louvre, where there is a long scroll of papyrus that bears the family name today.

Highlights of the collection include an important Egyptian limestone relief from the Amarna period, which depicts royal figures sailing on a sailboat on the Nile, circa 1352-1336 BC. and a splendid section of an Egyptian papyrus scroll with text from the Book of the Dead for Nes-Khonsu, with an exquisite vignette showing the deceased standing in worship before Osiris, 21st Dynasty 1069-945 BC. Animals also feature prominently in the collection, including an ibis and a seated cat.


Elias S. David (1891-1969) was one of the most important ancient art dealers in the Near East in the mid-20th century. Many of the masterpieces that have passed through his hands can be found today in some of the great international museums, including the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Notable objects in his collection include the numerous cylinders, barrels, cones and tablets, mostly in clay but also in bronze and stone, all inscribed with cuneiform texts, and mostly made up of foundation deposits.

Among the many important objects in this group is a large Neo-Babylonian clay cylinder from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, 604-562 BC, which commemorates his reconstruction of the temple of the god Lugal-Marada at Marad (estimate: 250,000- 350,000); a clay barrel from the same period was made to mark the restoration by Nebuchadnezzar II of the Ebabbar temple of Shamash in Sippar (estimate: 250,000-350,000); and a rare copper tablet from the Isin-Larsa period, reign of Rim-Sin I, 1822-1763 BC.


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