BOULDER, Colo. – Artemis Gallery, renowned for its impeccably curated auctions of fine cultural artifacts, will conduct a 380-lot sale on October 12 featuring superb antiquities and museum-level ancient and ethnographic art. Boasting an especially high-quality selection, the auction contains unique objects and artworks from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, as well as Asian, Near Eastern, Pre-Columbian, African and Native American cultures and tribes. Additional categories include Spanish colonial and Russian art; fossils, ancient jewelry and many more.
Bid absentee or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com. In keeping with the Artemis Gallery tradition, each item is backed by an ironclad guarantee that it is “as described” in the auction catalog and legal to buy or resell. A certificate of authenticity will accompany each purchase.
Headlining the auction is an extraordinary Samnite bronze triple-disk cuirass (shown above), or warrior’s breastplate, with hinged shoulder and side segments and an incised brass plate at the neck. The Samnites of south-central Italy battled the Roman Republic – often in skirmishes – from the 5th through 1st centuries BCE. “Because it is made of light armor, this type of breastplate suited the Samnites’ method of combat, which involved close combat in sometimes unpremeditated situations. Its style was later adopted by the Etruscans and Romans,” said Artemis Gallery Executive Director Teresa Dodge. Mounted on a custom stand, the cuirass comes to auction with a $150,000-$225,000 estimate.
Traveling farther back in time to the Ancient Egyptian era, there are several remarkable lots to spotlight, including a Middle Kingdom (circa 2050-1800 BCE) coffin panel with iconography, $4,000-$6,000; an expressive 26th Dynasty (circa 664-525 BCE) painted sarcophagus mask with stone eye inlays and a long beard, $8,000-$10,000; and (shown above) a very different type of wood, gesso and linen sarcophagus mask or bust from the Ptolemaic Period (circa 305-30 BCE) that stands a full 2 feet tall on its custom stand, $15,000-$20,000. An extremely rare ensemble of Egyptian faience beadwork depicting a winged scarab, winged Isis, and mask with a false beard is presented in a modern shadowbox frame. Purchased from a licensed antiquities dealer several decades ago in Luxor, Egypt, it is expected to make $5,000-$7,000 at auction.
An outstanding array of Greek antiquities includes pottery, terracotta and bronze sculptures; hand-painted decorative wares, and a marble statue of Aphrodite, $5,000-$7,000. A striking 3rd-2nd century BCE Hellenistic Period statue depicting a young man, Cadmus, strangling a large serpent, is estimated at $35,000-$45,000. Two other highlights not to be missed are a Greek Apulian red-figure amphora (shown above) attributed to the Baltimore Painter, circa 330-320 BCE, $9,000-$15,000; and an important Hellenistic bronze statue of Alexander the Great’s horse Bucephalus (shown below), circa 3rd century BCE, which is estimated at $25,000-$35,000.
Near Eastern works are led by a rare circa 2nd millennium BCE Canaanite cast-bronze figure of a goddess – perhaps Asherah – with a fierce face, brooding, deepset eyes, and clenched fist. Interestingly, the long, thin anatomy might be compared to the magnificent 20th-century works of Modigliani. Standing 12.7in high on its included custom stand, and shown below, it is estimated at $15,000-$22,500.
A connoisseur’s selection of Asian art awaits collectors, featuring such highlights as a published Shang Dynasty bronze ge (dagger-axe) blade of a stylized dragon and phoenix, $9,000-$12,000; a serene Ming Dynasty (China, circa 1368-1644 CE) stucco head of Buddha on a tiered plinth, $10,000-$15,000; a circa 17th century CE Indian sculpture of Avalokitsvara Bodhisattva carved from a single piece of white marble, $30,000-$45,000; and a sensational circa 1st century CE central Asia gray schist head of the most famous bodhisattva, the young Prince Siddharta (shown at top of page). The 14-inch-high figure’s elaborate turban-style headdress is consistent with one that might be worn by a Gandharan rajah. Estimate: $15,000-$20,000
Many cultures of the Americas are represented in the auction. Top pieces include a Mayan pottery cylinder with the image of a feathered serpent, a Costa Rican stone standing monkey god, ex Alfred E Stendahl collection; and a rare Panamanian cocle polychrome-painted pitcher. And it would be impossible to ignore the fearsome gaze of a circa 300-500 CE Peruvian Moche hammered-copper jaguar mask (shown above) decorated with teeth and eyes of white shell. A Moche burial mask of similar construction is held in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The auction example is expected to make $18,000-$25,000. Another great prize in this section is an Olmec terracotta figure of a seated baby (shown below) with chubby limbs and well-formed facial features. Made around 1200-600 BCE in southern Mexico or Guatemala, this piece comes with a TL analysis report from Oxford Authentication Ltd. (UK). Its pre-sale estimate is $70,000-$100,000.
Within the grouping of ethnographic artworks to cross the auction block on October 12 is a skillfully carved Luba/Kusu Janiform caryatid stool from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Circa 1920 CE, this compelling creation comes with provenance from the collection of Bernard Dulon, Paris. Estimate: $12,000-$18,000
A colossal circa-1775 Spanish-colonial Mexico oil-on-canvas painting of the Virgin Inmaculada Concepcion (shown above) measures 58.5 by 44.25 inches in its 22K gold with gesso relief frame. This beautiful rendering of the Virgin as a young woman, surrounded with seraphim and winged angels, could reach $15,000-$30,000 at auction. A more-contemporary Mexican work that is expected to attract strong bidding is an original 1950 Diego Rivera (1886-1957) pencil sketch of native figures performing a ceremonial dance or ritual around a pyramid. Possibly a study for Rivera’s mural in the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City, it is offered with a $6,000-$12,000 estimate.
The sale begins at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, with absentee and Internet live bidding available through LiveAuctioneers. For additional information about any item in the auction, call Teresa Dodge at 720-502-5289 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.