When it comes to popularity, antiquities art has not held top ranking. In recent times however, this has shifted, as modern and contemporary art collectors start taking a heftier interest in the field. But why now? What is making someone like Stephen Sills, an interior designer-cum-art-collector who lives in Manhattan, choose to use Hellenistic art with which to decorate his apartment, alongside pieces by Agnes Martin, Robert Rauschenberg and Richard Serra?
These art connoisseurs are seeing that ancient art is becoming a great compliment to modern art. For example, one recent exhibition – Mnemosyne: de Chirico and Antiquity held at the Helly Nahmad Gallery between November 2015 and January 2016 – displayed 20th century works from Giorgio de Chirico, alongside those of Greek and Roman antiquities from Phoenix Ancient Art. Hicham Aboutaam, co-owner of Phoenix Ancient Art, echoed this sentiment when he spoke about the exhibition in its attempt to “cultivate an environment in which antiquities are appreciated in a modern context.”
Not only is this fusion popular, it is also becoming quite a financially-savvy business. In attendance at the exhibition were art collector and Garage Museum of Contemporary Art founder, Dasha Zhukova, along with fashion designer Valentino Garavani and even philanthropists Michael Steinhardt and Leonard Stern.
These exhibitions and changes in the way experts are viewing art, seem together to suggest that the art industry is becoming increasingly adept to appreciating the synthesis that can exist between modern and antiquities art.
Hear and watch as Hicham Aboutaam of Phoenix Ancient Art explains why collectors of modern art are buying 3,000 year-old antiquities.