Acroterion with Volutes/ Roman, 1st–2nd century AD/ Marble/ 30 × 21.5 cm/ Courtesy of Galerie Chenel and Oscar Humphries

Galerie Chenel and Oscar Humphries present Origins: Design from the Ancient World

“You cheer my heart, who build as if Rome would be eternal.” —Augustus

This presentation, without precedent at a modern and contemporary design fair, showcases design and architectural elements from 200 BC to approximately 200 AD. Focusing on Greco-Roman art—columns, capitals, urns, and fragmentary sections from interiors and furniture—this Curio brings to life an ancient civilization from which all Western art and design derives.

At times these rare materials feel protomodernist in their simplicity. Fluted columns recall Art Deco architecture. Eroded marble is both ancient and minimalist. Each great architectural movement’s protagonists nod to some degree to Rome and Athens, from Andrea Palladio to Ettore Sottsass. It is remarkable that these objects survived the ravages of time, making their aesthetic and philosophical gravitas is all the more powerful. Origins: Design from the Ancient World was conceived to bring this material to a new audience and to give it a new context that demonstrates the fundamental synergy of great design from any period, as well as its profound differences.

This Curio is a partnership between the fine art and design curator Oscar Humphries and Galerie Chenel, Paris. Humphries’s recent exhibitions include Teatro Mollino at Design Miami/ Basel 2017 and Sean Scully-San Cristóbal (2018), which situated sculpture and paintings in Luis Barragán’s modernist masterpiece Cuadra San Cristóbal. Galerie Chenel, headed by Adrien and Ollivier Chenel, is one of the world’s leading galleries specializing in ancient art. Members of Syndicat National des Antiquaires, the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA), the Union Française des Experts (UFE), and Carré Rive Gauche, provenance and authenticity are paramount to this family business.