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Buyers Respond Warmly to Sale of Christian Artifacts

An inaugural sale of icons and other works of Christian art from Ethiopia opened in New York City on Oct. 18 and drew an immediate response from buyers. The show, on display at PaceWildenstein’s 57th Street gallery, was organized by Sam Fogg, a London dealer in medieval manuscripts and Asian miniatures, and featured 48 objects at

NEW YORK—An inaugural sale of icons and other works of Christian art from Ethiopia opened in New York City on Oct. 18 and drew an immediate response from buyers.

The show, on display at PaceWildenstein’s 57th Street gallery, was organized by Sam Fogg, a London dealer in medieval manuscripts and Asian miniatures, and featured 48 objects at prices ranging from $15,000/300,000. By the third day of the exhibition, 17 of the works had found buyers.

By the time the show closed on Oct. 29, another two works had been sold and three more had been placed on reserve by American institutions, Fogg told ARTnewsletter. Seven works were acquired by museums.

Among the pieces sold were four works—a diptych 15th-century painted icon, a pair of painted 15th-century panels, a two-sided 17th-century pendant icon and a larger early-18th-century triptych icon. All were sold to a European museum and had asking prices that ranged from $20,000/150,000.

A triptych icon with an asking price of $100,000 was acquired by an American museum and another, priced at $150,000, was put on reserve by a separate American institution; three others fell to European collectors. The brightly painted icons and panels have a primitive style, with figures bearing an Italian influence that gradually adopts more of a North African

appearance.

Among other works purchased by private collectors were four processional crosses, figured metal pieces mounted on staffs—dating from the 12th-15th centuries, with asking prices of $50,000/60,000.

Illuminated parchment manuscripts from the 18th century, both complete and as separate sheets from such works, were also represented, with four works selling early in the course of the show, two to an American museum, at asking prices of $8,000/150,000.

Fogg told ARTnewsletter he had acquired the material over the last several years, mostly from Italian collections. Known first as a specialist in European manuscripts, the dealer in recent years has branched out into Islamic art and Indian miniature painting.

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