December 15, 2010

Updates: Samuel Merrin & Gallery

You may have noticed that the Samuel Merrin & Gallery blog has just moved to a new domain:, although will still continue to work (and redirect to the new domain). For updates, be sure to check Twitter: Samuel Merrin, as well as The Merrin Gallery on the professional networking site Manta:
The Merrin Gallery is the world's leading gallery for ancient art from Greece, Rome, Egypt, Mesoamerica, South America, and the Near East. Recognized by international museums and collectors as being the top gallery in pre-Columbian and South American art, The Merrin Gallery is among the top few galleries in the world for antiquities.

December 12, 2010

Peter C. Marzio 1943–2010

The Merrin Gallery mourns the loss of Peter C. Marzio.
The MFAH director truly created 'a place for all people'.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Frances Marzio.
—Sam Merrin

Director Peter C. Marzio. Credit: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

A very good friend of Samuel Merrin, forever to be remembered:
Peter Marzio, visionary Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, dedicated his career to making the art of world cultures accessible to all. He often recounted how art had changed his life.
Read more: Peter Marzio – MFAH

December 6, 2010

The Merrins & Confidential Art Sales

Over the past five decades, Edward and Samuel Merrin have acquired, and placed major ancient art collections with leading institutions and private collectors.

Especially in the last few years, Samuel Merrin has acquired old collections from major families. Working with the owners, who wanted the transactions kept confidential, he placed these valued objects of art 'quietly'. Celebrated as one of the great advantages of The Merrin Gallery, this has kept Sam a major player in the art world—sometimes even rivaling Sotheby's and Christie's. Where, to purchase private collections and individual pieces, he has at times outbid both auction houses.

Sam has the standing and ability to either purchase part or entire collections, acquired many years ago, and respect the selling wishes of clients.

More about: Samuel Merrin, or Edward Merrin & Gallery.

November 28, 2010

Video: The Merrin Gallery & Ancient Art

What is ancient art? The official YouTube Channel of the Merrin Gallery has recently gone public with a video featuring several objects of ancient art from Egypt, Rome and South America.

It is possible to view these antiquities on YouTube in extremely high definition (up to 1080p HD), or also below:

November 19, 2010

The Priests of Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt, priests filled the crucial role of performing all necessary rituals and maintaining the temples, which were believed to be the actual residences of the gods. Unlike in today’s houses of worship, there was limited outreach to the lay public, who were not allowed within.

The priesthood of each temple was comprised of a small, permanent staff of professionals, and a revolving coterie of high-ranking male and female “volunteers” called saw (later, Phylae, in Greek), who each served for a month at a time. As in any bureaucracy, there was a hierarchy to the priesthood: one could advance to the next level only after fulfilling the function of the preceding one.

November 5, 2010

Roundup: Ancient Egypt, Greece and Sam Merrin

Renowned expert for pre-Columbian and ancient art, find out about Sam Merrin here, the owner and president of The Merrin Gallery, Inc.

Recent acquisitions of the Merrin Gallery include three fabulous pieces that have been discussed on this blog:
  1. Ancient, 2,500 year old Egyptian figurine
  2. Large decorated amphora from ancient Greece
  3. Beautiful wooden mask from an Egyptian sarcophagus

July 13, 2010

Large Ancient Greek Amphora with Herakles

A recent acquisition of the Merrin Gallery, this ancient Greek, black-figured amphora from Athens depicts the apotheosis of Herakles (the Greek name for Hercules). Quite simply a beautiful and very large Attic amphora, dated 520-510 B.C.

On the front it is decorated with Athena stepping into her quadriga and holding a spear, Herakles holding a club and bow, Dionysos holding vine branches, and Hermes leading the team. On the back it depicts Apollo Kitharoidos accompanied by a feline and flanked on either side by a goddess and satyr.

For a discussion of these figures, please visit the Merrin Gallery's page on this 2,500 year old Greek amphora.

Upon closer observation, there are inscriptions in the field, a palmette-and-lotus chain above each scene, rays above the foot, ivy on the sides of the handles, and the details have been added in red and white by the skillful and renowned Antimenes Painter.

July 9, 2010

Wooden Mask from Ancient Egypt

This very beautiful face mask comes from the inner coffin of a large ancient Egyptian sarcophagus, dated at around 1305-946 B.C. The red paint was painted over a layer of gesso and linen. Recently acquired by the Merrin Gallery, the broad oval face has a delicately carved mouth indented at the corners.

The lips are outlined and almost form a smile. The nose is straight with recessed nostrils. The eyes are set wide apart and the cosmetic lines are emphasized in black, which of course was the custom of the day, but also makes this ancient work of art very powerful. The face is very sensitive and the artist who sculpted it, over 3,000 years ago, was clearly a master artist.

Samuel Merrin presents another recently acquired, interesting ancient Egyptian piece. But for more information on this polychrome wooden mask, please visit the Merrin Gallery's website.

July 5, 2010

An Ancient Egyptian Shabti

In tune with Sam Merrin's recent comment in regards to Tutenkhamun's exhibition at the Met, the Merrin Gallery has acquired an ancient Egyptian piece from the 26th dynasty, dated 570-526 B.C., under the reign of Amasis II.

It is a shabti (funerary figurine) depicting the Wab priest to the King (his titles include: Royal Chancellor of Lower Egypt, Administrator of the Palace, son of Schepen-Bastet). The figure holds the traditional hoe, pick, and seed-sack.

The head, wearing a braided beard and striated tripartite wig, has a finely modeled face whose eyebrows and cosmetic lines are illustrated through relief. The faience body is embossed with eight lines of inscription.

Such shabtis of Neferibresaneith are among the most beautiful ones of the Late Period. The piece is made entirely from faience, a notable ancient Egyptian material.

The tomb of Neferibresaneith was found at Saqqara, south of the funerary complex of King Userkaf, in 1929, and was fully excavated in the late 1940s. In all, 366 shabtis were found, most of them resting on the lid of the stone sarcophagus under the carbonized wood box.

More information about the ancient Egyptian shabti of Neferibresaneith can be found at the Merrin Gallery.

Update: Another parallel acquisition of an ancient Egyptian artwork by the Merrin Gallery.

June 22, 2010

Samuel Merrin and the Gallery

To formally introduce, Samuel Merrin is the president and owner of The Merrin Gallery, Inc. Established in 1987, and while incorporated that year, it is a second-generation ancient art business founded by Sam's father, Edward Merrin in the mid-1960s. This came at a time when Ed started acquiring and selling pre-Columbian art—becoming an expert in the field.

Samuel formally took over the gallery in 1999 and has been involved with ancient art his entire life. As a child, Sam frequently visited his father’s gallery, and worked there over many summer vacations. He was fascinated by the beauty and telling history of the objects that he would handle. Inspired, Samuel received a BA from Tufts University, worked at The Cloisters museum and interned at 'the Met' in NYC.

Today, Sam Merrin is asked to give appraisals for identifying major pre-Columbian art and other ancient works—in terms of authenticity and value—for museum exhibitions, auction houses, dealers and other institutions. Sam has coordinated several major exhibitions, and published accompanying catalogues of objects for sale. He has been featured in several newspapers, art magazines, and TV programs for his antiquity know-how.

Samuel's expertise has been sought after for many major collections in America and Europe, where clients of the Merrin Gallery include leading museums such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London and the Middle East, as well as many others.

This blog aims to illuminate some of this work surrounding ancient art, as well as giving casual information for collectors and enthusiasts. We hope you will find it helpful and informative, and if you have any questions, then please leave a comment below, or the Merrin Gallery's Facebook page.

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