Artemis Gallery to host Dec. 1 auction focused on art of the ancient Americas
BOULDER, Colo. – Artemis Gallery is known for its beautifully presented auctions of ancient and ethnographic art from the world’s great civilizations, but their December 1st sale through LiveAuctioneers is taking an intentionally more-focused approach. The sale will showcase the legacy of Pre-Columbian and tribal cultures of the Americas.
“This year we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of new collectors entering the Pre-Columbian market,” said Teresa Dodge, executive director of Artemis Gallery. “We decided to create a specialty sale featuring the art and relics of Pre-Columbian Central and South America that included all price points. That way the auction will be accessible to every collector, whether they’re looking for connoisseur’s pieces, moderately valued artifacts or just dipping their toe into the water for the first time.” All 327 auction items are guaranteed to be authentic, as described, and legal to acquire according to federal guidelines. A certificate of authenticity will accompany each purchase.
Teresa and her husband Bob, both experts in antiquities and ancient art, also felt the auction’s exquisite hand-made jewelry and intriguing ethnographic objects would make fantastic holiday gifts, so they designed the catalog with categories to appeal to the shopper seeking something different and unique. Some of the categories are: Jade, Figural Pottery, Wearable Ancient Jewelry, For Animal Lovers, and Just Cool. “Everyone has a person on their holiday shopping list who either has everything or is very hard to please. But any woman would be thrilled with an ancient gold or bead necklace, and any executive would love a conversation piece for their desk or etagere like an Inca terracotta jar in the form of a parrot.”
The auction opens with stunning jade pieces. Lot 3A (shown at top of page), a museum-quality Olmec maskette or face panel, was carved from blue-green jadeite stone sometime between 1000 BCE and 400BCE. The maskette, whose graceful facial contours and distinctive features are signature traits of Olmec artisans, is similar to an example held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000.
Another Olmec piece, Lot 3C is a circa-700 to 500 BCE jadeite cup engraved with glyphs. The Olmecs were the first known major culture in Mesoamerica and were known for their remarkable jade carvings. The cup is expected to make $9,000-$14,000. Lot 38B, a Costa Rican dark green carved jade avian-form pendant, circa 1-500 CE, was formerly in the collection of Dr. Peter Arnovick. It is estimated at $1,000-$1,500.
Four superb examples of Costa Rican jade carvings will be offered as Lots 48A through 48D. The first of the four (48A) is a Guanacaste-Nicoya maskette of human form with string-cut features, drilled eyes and carved headdress adornments. This choice artwork of deep blue-green jade comes from an Atlanta private collection and is estimated at $5,000-$7,000. Lot 48B (shown below), a circa-200 to 600 CE translucent jade axe god in abstract human form, dates to circa 200-600 CE and carries a pre-sale estimate of $4,000-$6,000.
An impressive array of figural pottery awaits bidders. Lot 37A is a circa-500 BCE to 500 CE Jamacoaque (Ecuador) polychrome jar fashioned as a jaguar head. This large and important head exhibits great style and even has a removable pottery nose ornament. With provenance from a Hollywood, Calif., collection and previously from Ron Messick Fine Arts of Santa Fe, N.M., it is on target to reach $4,000-$6,000 at auction.
From the same culture and timeframe, a terracotta figure of a woman wearing a large headdress and adorned with ear and nose ornaments, a necklace and bracelets, is estimated at $3,000-$5,000. Its provenance includes the Terra Collection of Houston, Texas.
Many Pre-Columbian cultures chose dogs as the subjects of their ceramic wares. Several excellent examples are available in the Dec. 1 auction, including Lot 21, a circa-300 BCE to 300 CE Colima (Western Mexico) “Chichi” or “Escuintla” hairless canine vessel (shown below). A representation of the ancestor to the Chihuahua or Mexican hairless breed, this stout, 16-inch-long pottery pup is entered with an auction estimate of $5,000-$7,500. Lot 49C is a hollow brownware pottery dog effigy from the Guangala culture of Ecuador. Made circa 500 CE, the dog has perky round ears and expressive facial features. Ex Shillo Adir collection, New York, N.Y., it comes to auction with an $800-$1,200 estimate.
Jade, ‘wearable-art’ jewelry, ancient animal-form decorative pieces ideal as holiday gifts
There are many wonderfully wearable selections in Artemis Gallery’s jewelry chest. Lot 7 has the unmistakable look of a luxury jeweler’s top-of-the-line sterling silver design, and for good reason. The necklace is styled as flowing rivulets that merge to form a cascade of intertwined silver terminating in six ancient Chavin (Peru, 900-200 BCE) beads of greenstone and crystal/quartz. The one-of-a-kind necklace was created by the renowned Muzeion Gallery, Dallas, and is estimated at $2,000-$3,000.
The ethnographic and tribal categories are brimming with quality items. Lot 92C, a circa-19th-century CE carved-wood crucifix with a bone figure of Jesus on the cross and the Virgin Mary at his feet, is of South American origin. The 16-inch artwork is crafted in the Romanesque style with a thin, elongated torso and limbs. Estimate: $1,800-$2,200.
A fascinating entry is Lot 148A, a metal-bladed adze (wood-cutting tool) from the Trobriand Islands. Traditionally, such implements were highly prized by the Trobriand people, horticulturalists who still live on an atoll of coral reefs off the coast of Papua New Guinea and use yams as currency. The adze is estimated at $1,800-$2,500.
Bidders may bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers. Start time is 10 a.m. Eastern/8 a.m. Mountain Time. For additional information on any item, call Teresa Dodge at 720-890-7700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.