Fayez Barakat

 

 

 

A Preface for The Collection
By Gerald A. Larue


It is a pleasure and an honor to write the preface for this dramatic representation of objets d’art in the magnificent collection of Fayez Barakat.

Outside of well-renowned museums, this is, without doubt, one of the finest assemblages of its kind anywhere in the world. What is depicted in this volume is only a fraction of the total collection that includes marvelous marble sculptings, exquisite glass vessels, figures of ancient gods and goddesses in silver, bronze, stone, and clay, as well as priceless jewelry. Bronze, silver, and gold coins – some mounted to be worn as jewelry, some in sets for collectors – precious scarabs and seals, beautiful icons, together with more commonplace oil lamps and household vessels from the ancient past complement this wonderful exhibition of creative artistry.

When I first met Fayez (who is also known as Viktor) in 1967, I was on leave from the University of Southern California to continue research in archaeology as a resident fellow of Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem. Fayez was seventeen years old – a bright, personable young man, amazingly well informed about archaeology – a subject that had fascinated him since earliest childhood. He is of the fourth generation of the Barakat family, which is well known for its collection of ancient Middle Eastern art. His grandfather, who owned large vineyards near Jerusalem was keenly aware of the aesthetic beauty of artifacts unearthed from time to time as his fields were plowed or when tombs were found on his property. He encouraged workmen to bring the objects to him for preservation.

As a young boy Fayez worked beside the famous British archaeologist, Dr. Kathleen Kenyon, sorting and identifying shards from her excavation in the ancient Jerusalem of King David’s time. Fayez became familiar with pottery classifications and with the basic principles of field archaeology.

His facility in learning languages was startling. With his photographic memory he could quickly master a new language, including vocabulary and grammar, and conduct intelligent conversations with visitors from different countries in Europe in their native languages.

At the age of fourteen, when he was deeply engrossed in reading medical textbooks in preparation for his intended career in medicine, he met Father James McGuire of Loyola University. The reverend father, as a good teacher, put Fayez to the test. He thumbed through the texts and asked questions of the young man. So impressed was he by Fayez’s answer that he offered him a Fullbright scholarship.

When the papers arrived in Jerusalem, Fayez’s father distressed at the thought of being separated from his son, quietly secreted the documents until the time for accepting the invitation had elapsed.

During 1967 artifacts from plundered tombs in the hill country west of Hebron began to stream into Jerusalem. Fayez, like other merchants, made purchases from the villagers. He acquired numerous common household objects from periods extending from Middle Bronze I (2100-1900 B.C. ) through the Byzantine era (A.D. sixth century). Soon he began to accept only those choice items that represented the finest statements of the ancient craftsman’s art.

About this same time, Dr. Nelson Glueck, president of Hebrew Union College, a world-renowned scholar and archaeologist, invited Fayez to attend classes in the Jerusalem school. Soon he was enrolled in courses taught by the eminent Middle Eastern archaeologist, Dr. William Denver. Under the guidance of Father Spiekerman, director of the Museum of the Flagellation at the Second Station of the cross in Jerusalem, he researched ancient coinage. He read and studied archaeological journals, excavation reports, and the best sources in art history. Consequently, he has become one of those unique individuals whose knowledge combines the results of classroom studies, extensive reading and research, and practical field experience with intimate familiarity with artifacts developed through handling thousands of items.

Today, Fayez is more than a merchant; he is a connoisseur devoted to a dream. He believes he owes something to the archaeologists and instructors who helped develop his expertise-and indeed, to all who probe the past and help us appreciate our rich human heritage. He has undertaken a duty to preserve the past and to save from possible damage and loss these exquisite artistic statements. He has witnessed the destruction of precious ancient objects by simple villagers who feared fines for possession of such items or perhaps confiscation by the government of the land on which they were found. Once an artifact is destroyed, whatever it might tell us of the past is beyond recovery and its usefulness as a clue to the understanding the creative spirit is forever lost.

Fayez asked himself, "what can I do to preserve these precious objects for posterity?" He knew that an item sold by a merchant to a collector might remain in the new owner’s possession for a generation, but there was a good chance that it would ultimately end up in a museum.

He decided to do two things: on the one hand he would become a merchant for these museum-quality treasures; on the other hand he would lay plans for the Barakat Family Museum that would one day house these most exquisite expressions of the ancient past. This is his continuing dream and together with his deep love of beauty and creativity, this is what motivates him.

To some he may appear open to the charge of encouraging vandalism because he purchases objects from plundered sites. But the protection of ancient sites is the responsibility of the respective governments. Once an object has been removed from its setting its true provenance is forever lost. Fayez Barakat is salvaging art objects for future generations. What he has gathered, as illustrated in this volume, testifies to the validity of his dream. His magnificent, ever-expanding collection now includes objects from biblical lands, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Here he provides pictorial evidence of his splendid collection. Here are exceptional expressions of ancient craftsmanship. Here is beauty from our most distant past.

Those who have the privilege of meeting Fayez Barakat at his place of business on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, or in Jerusalem, or in Bethlehem where he has other shops, discover the warm charm that has endeared him to so many. Behind the quiet, calm businessman there lies the devoted connoisseur, the true expert, the man in love with what he is doing. His delightful sense of humor, his integrity, his deep concern for human kind, his love for people in the present and for things from the past, his ability to talk about important life issues with wisdom and compassion are now richly enhanced by what was not present when I first knew him in 1967 – the support of his beautiful, caring wife, Malak, and their two delightful children, Sufian and Joanna.

The Barakat Collection is so large, so magnificent, so splendid that it staggers the mind. On every shelf there are rare, exquisite, beautiful objects in gold, in silver, in ivory, and in stone. Some are huge like the sculpture of Alexander the Great, or the basalt lintel with carved menorah in the style of the Second-Temple period, or the carved marble sarcophagus. Some are of delicately laced gold like the Hellenistic hairnet, some are of wrought glass including perfume vials and vessels with human faces.

The collection will continue to grow. Those of us who have the privilege of enjoying it owe a lasting debt of gratitude to Fayez Barakat for making these marvelous works of art accessible to us and for displaying them in this splendid volume.


GERALD A. LARUE
Emeritus Professor of Biblical History and Archaeology
Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
University of Southern California

 

 

 

 

 

The Barakat Gallery
Speciality: Chinese art, Egyptian and classical antiquities, tribal and pre-Columbian art.

The Barakat Gallery is a fifth generation family owned and operated business, founded in Jerusalem over 100 years ago.

The Gallery is a purveyor of museum quality ancient art specializing in Classical antiquities, Near Eastern, Biblical, Chinese, Pre-Columbian, Byzantine, Asian, African and Primitive arts. We also specialize in ancient Numismatics and fine jewelry.

Our clientele is varied, including museums, corporations, private collectors and investors from all over the world.
For the past century, the Barakat Family has been fortunate to have assisted in the formation of some of the most important art collections in the world.

Walking into a Barakat Gallery is akin to entering another dimension. Inside, space and time, the present and the past, all merge together. The Barakat Family is dedicated to acquiring the finest masterpieces of ancient art from around the world. Their obsession has driven the collection to encompass the sacred relics of various cultures from Pre-Columbian America to the Khmer civilization of Cambodia.

When strolling through either the immaculate Beverly Hills or London showroom, one will find themself traveling from continent to continent, from era to era, in a matter of steps. Ancient bronzes of Greek and Roman gods stand majestically opposed to African bronzes depicting kings and captives.

The Barakat Collection attests not only to the timeless beauty and elegance of ancient artist but also to the seemingly limitless diversity and multiplicity of form and subject inherent in the world.

The international annex of the company has been located on Rodeo Drive since 1982 and is located at 421 North Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills.

 

 

 

 

CANVAS MAGAZINE
May, June 2005 | Volume 1 Issue 3



 

 

 
LEADERS MAGAZINE
Apr, May, June 2003 | Volume 26 Number 2

 


 

 

 

 
Hotel Bel-Air MAGAZINE
2000 | Volume VIII Number 1


 

 

 

 
Clubherald Seabourn MAGAZINE
2004 | Volume 14 Number 1


 

 

 

 
Clubherald Seabourn MAGAZINE
2004 | Volume 14 Number 2


 

 

 

 
An Evening with President Clinton
2001


 

 

 

 

 
Palm Springs Life
1986


 

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Certificate of Recognition
2003 | Beverly Hills City Council



 

 

 

 

 

Video: Treasures of Ancient China

 

 

 

 

Preface
THE BARAKAT GALLERY

By Selma Holo

A CATALOGUE OF THE COLLECTION

Volume I


The art world is made up of art historians, critics, museums, the art market, the taste of the times, and above all, the objects themselves. Those art objects, which both effect and are affected by all of these factors, most often come to light of day by way of the art dealer. There are, however, all kinds of art dealers, ranging from those whose only concern is selling to those who truly love art and are scholars in their own right. Throughout my professional career, which included being a curator of the Norton Simon Museum and now finds me directing the Fisher Gallery of the University of Southern California and training young people for museum careers in our Museum Studies Program, I have learned to value the scholar-dealer for his or her insights into the nature of the works of art that fall into their special areas of interest.

Living and working in Los Angeles as I have for many years, I am anxious to encourage the evolution of our community into a major center in the art world. To be such a center, a city has to know and appreciate, to sell and buy, not only contemporary art, but ancient and old master art as well. That is, of course, well on the way of happening, and it is clear to me that Mr. Barakat is going to be an important part of that evolution. The art that he brings to our city is of startling quality. His sense of aesthetics is so highly developed and so refined that I am looking forward to their inevitable movement from collection to museum in order that they may become a part of our common experience.

Not only is Mr. Barakat bringing beautiful pieces of art to our attention, but he is already sharing them with us in noncommercial ways. No sooner did I ask him to lend a number of objects, including his beautiful Alexander head and a major Judaic relief to an exhibition at the Fisher Gallery, than he responded that "anything we needed" that he still owned would be available to us. Such generosity will help spread knowledge about the art of the ancient world in a city that can only profit by this kind of enrichment of its cultural memory bank. It is therefore, in the spirit of mutual cooperation that I welcome Mr. Barakat to Los Angeles and wish him the best in his new home.

May 1983
SELMA HOLO
Director, Fisher Gallery and Museum
Studies Program
University of Southern California

 

 

 

 

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Fayez Barakat, Art From Ancient Lands, Barakat Publications, Ancient Jalisco Art, Ancient Colima Art, Ancient Nayarit Art, Art of Ancient Africa, Roman Oil Lamps,
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Animals on Coins, Emperor Maurice Tiberius, Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Islamic Gold Coins, Athenian Tetradrachms
Emperor Constantine 1 the Great, Emperor Antoninus Pius, Emperor Commodus, Ancient Jewish Coins, Bactrian Coins, Emperor Justinian,
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405 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills CA 90210 | Phone:310.859.8408 | Fax 310.276.1346
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