in Frieze Masters | 15 OCT 21

Frieze Masters Curated Picks: Sir Norman Rosenthal

From an ancient Egyptian masterpiece to avant-garde discoveries in Spotlight, the renowned curator shares his highlights from the Frieze Masters 2021 edition of Frieze Viewing Room

in Frieze Masters | 15 OCT 21

At Safani Gallery, the Egyptian full length 26th dynasty statue of a male figure dressed in an extraordinary pleated skirt is certainly the Egyptian masterpiece of Frieze Masters. Almost one of a kind, very convincing in its sense of the here and the underworld.

Egyptian Green Schist Statue of Pef-tjau-neith. Courtesy Safani Gallery

The Ariadne Gallery have a number of beautiful things but I was very taken by a very early fragment of a wild goat style amphora.

Fragment of a Wild Goat Style Amphora
Fragment of a Wild Goat Style Amphora. Middle II Phase, last quarter of 7th century BC. Courtesy of Ariadne

At Gisèle Croës – Arts d'Extrême-Orient, the Jin Dynasty reliquary is an object decorated exquisitely on all sides, circa a thousand years old with a wonderful painting of two figures and a door. 

Polychrome stone reliquary Northern China - Jin Dynasty (1126-1234)
Polychrome stone reliquary. Northern China - Jin Dynasty (1126-1234). Painted limestone; black, green, blue, white and red pigments.15 1/4 in x 20 1/4 in x16 ½ in.. Courtesy of Gisèle Croës – Arts d'Extrême-Orient

Sam Fogg are showing an extraordinary mortar vase that is heavy and grand and tells you a great deal about 15th-century civilisation. 

At Racanello & Leprince, any of their medical vases would be wonderful to possess. I was taken by three very small vases, thinking of myself.

CASTELLI,  Pharmacy bottle of 'Orsini Colonna' type, Castelli, Circa 1540. Courtesy of Racanello & Leprince
Pharmacy bottle of 'Orsini Colonna' type, Castelli, ca. 1540. Courtesy of Racanello & Leprince

Tomasso has a seventeenth-century carved boxwood piece, representative of two slave figures, probably quite close to Leonhard Kern, with a very devilish-like putto. A mystery piece, and I like mysterious objects that are intrinsically beautiful, maybe finding out one day what they are. The piece is incredibly enigmatic and beautiful.

17th-century German artist, An Allegorical Representation, boxwood. of Two Captives Bound in Chains
17th-century German artist, An Allegorical Representation, Boxwood. of Two Captives Bound in Chains. Courtesy of Tomasso

Johnny Van Haeften has a drawing by Jan van Goyen, one of the great draftsmen of landscape, a contemporary of Rembrandt, and far too little appreciated.

Callisto Fine Arts is showing two extraordinary white porcelain pistols from the mid 18th-century. What an extraordinary idea and I’m dying to own them. 

pair of pistols, Callisto Fine Arts
Eighteenth-century artist from Bassano del Grappa, pair of pistols, ca. 1750. Courtesy of Callisto Fine Arts

Van der Meij Fine Art shows extraordinary Northern European early nineteenth-century art, with two men playing cards by an artist Tjeed Eernstman, whom I had never heard of.

TJEERD EERNSTMAN, The card game, 1826. Oil on canvas  31.5" x 25.59" (80 cm x 65 cm). Courtesy of Van Der Meij Fine Arts.   € 20,000
Tjeerd Eernstman, The Card Game, 1826. Oil on canvas  31.5" x 25.59" (80 cm x 65 cm). Courtesy of Van Der Meij Fine Arts. 

Emanuel von Baeyer gallery has a wonderful group of English artists of Sickert and his circle, but also German Renaissance prints

Walter Richard Sickert, Noctes Ambrosianae, circa 1908. Etching and aquatint. 10.43" x 15.51" (26.5 cm x 39.4 cm). Price on Application. Courtesy of Emanuel von Baeyer

Richard Nagy is showing a lampshade by Adolf Loos, a must-have by an archetypal designer of the early twentieth-century.

Roger Brown and Barbara Levittoux-Świderska in Spotlight were two artists completely unknown to me who stood out and I’m very happy to have learnt about them.

An artist of the Chicago School, Robert Brown (Kavi Gupta), is an alternative to the Abstract Expressionist artists of New York.

Roger Brown, Veronica's Landscape
Roger Brown, Veronica's Landscape, 1988. Oil on Canvas. Courtesy of Kavi Gupta

I’d never heard of Barbara Levittoux-Świderska (Richard Saltoun Gallery) and she seems to me like a second Eva Hesse and I’m very glad to have learnt about her.

Barbara Levittoux-Świderska, Untitled, 1970-79
Barbara Levittoux-Świderska, Untitled, 1970-79, Sisal. Courtesy of Richard Saltoun Gallery

Sir Norman Rosenthal is an independent curator and art historian. After a short time spent as exhibitions officer at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, and subsequently as curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, in 1977 he became Exhibitions Secretary at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, where he remained until 2008.

Frieze Viewing Room is open until midnight (BST) on Sunday 17 October. 

Main image: Courtesy of Raccanello & Leprince