NEW YORK, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Ali Aboutaam, president of Phoenix Ancient Art, was presented with the badge of Chevalier (Knight) of the Order of Arts and Letters by Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, the Minister of Culture and Communication. The honor was bestowed on September 14, 2006, in Paris during the Biennale des Antiquaires, one of France's most important art exhibitions. Phoenix Ancient Art is one of the world's leading dealers in rare, high quality antiquities from Western civilizations, Established in 1957, the Order of Arts and Letters, which is administered by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the arts and literature in France and throughout the world. The award is given out twice annually to only a few people worldwide. Past recipients of this prestigious award include Beverly Sills, Marilyn Horne, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, I.M. Pei, Susan Sontag, Meryl Streep, and Robert Redford. In his remarks during the award presentation, Mr. Donnedieu de Vabres noted that those in the antiquities field "are the enlightened keepers of these jewels that are our heritage" and the "precious transmitters of culture." He also commended the dealers for their "immense professionalism" and "passion in the exercise of such a noble profession; a profession which, as we are all well aware, requires great intelligence, patience, and research." Speaking directly to Mr. Aboutaam, Mr. Donnedieu de Vabres said, "You were 13 years-old when you bought the first coin of what is today one of the most beautiful coin collections. And thus, some years later, after you graduated as a civil engineer from the University of Saint Joseph in Beirut, your passion for antiquities -- a passion transmitted by your father and nourished by the land of your birth, which is home to the treasures of the Roman and Phoenician civilizations -- drove you to develop your career at his side, in the company he founded in 1968. In 1995, you started Phoenix Ancient Art with your brother, Hicham, which today is considered one of the world's premier galleries of Western archaeology. Egypt, the classical worlds of Greece and Rome, Mesopotamia, Europe and Central Asia have no secrets from you." "We are, of course, extremely proud that Ali has been personally recognized with this honor," said Hicham Aboutaam, co-founder of Phoenix Ancient Art, "But perhaps even more gratifying is the fact that the French Ministry of Culture is acknowledging the contribution that professional antiquities dealers make to the arts and to our understanding of Western culture." ABOUT PHOENIX ANCIENT ART With galleries in New York City and Geneva, Switzerland, Phoenix Ancient Art (http://www.phoenixancientart.com) is one of the world's leading dealers in rare and exquisite antiquities from cultures that make up the essence of Western Civilization. Its works of art have been purchased by world-class museums around the globe, as well as by private individuals. Formally incorporated in 1995, Phoenix Ancient Art is a second-generation family business that was founded by Sleiman Aboutaam in 1968 and continues today under the leadership of his sons, Hicham and Ali.
SOURCE Phoenix Ancient Art