The Guennol Stargazer is the top lot at Christie’s Exceptional sale in New York on April 28. One of the finest and largest preserved Anatolian marble female idols of Kiliya type it dates from the Chalcolithic Period, c3000-2200 B.C. It has a distinguished exhibition history and has been on loan at The Metropolitan Museum of Art at various periods from 1966 to 2007. It is from a private New York collection.
“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. 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,” G. Max Bernheimer, International Head of Antiquities remarked.
“Stargazer” is the colloquial title derived from the slightly tilted-back angle at which the large head rests on the thin neck on the nine inch high figure. This creates the whimsical impression of a celestial stare. Only about 15 nearly complete idols survive. Fragmentary examples, particularly heads, abound. Most of the complete examples have been broken across the neck, as the present figure, suggesting that the sculptures were ritually “killed” at the time of burial. It was part of the Guennol collection formed by Alastair Bradley Martin and his wife Edith, the first modern owners. Guennol is the Welsh word for Martin. The last marble example of the Kiliya type at auction, The Schuster Stargazer, sold at Christie’s in New York in 2005 for $1.8 million.