BOULDER, Colo. – Throughout the year, Artemis Gallery presents both specialty and comprehensive one-day auctions that attract a global audience of antiquities and ethnographic art collectors, and institutional buyers. But the excitement level leading up to an Artemis Gallery sale is never greater than when the Colorado-based company hosts its two-day Exceptional Auction, whose format features antiquities and fine Asian art in the opening session and ethnographic art and fossils on Day 2. The next highly anticipated event of this type is slated for June 20-21, with absentee and Internet live bidding available through LiveAuctioneers.
As is the case with every Artemis sale, all pieces offered are pre-vetted by a research team led by gallery co-owners and renowned industry experts Bob and Teresa Dodge. All convey with an Artemis Gallery COA and are unconditionally guaranteed to be authentic, as described in the catalog, and legal to purchase, own, and if desired, resell.
Extraordinary Egyptian sphinx among top entries, expected to make $80,000-$120,000
The exquisite array of antiquities and Asian fine art knows no international borders and follows a timeline that starts in Ancient Egypt and proceeds through the centuries to the colonial settlements of the New World. An extraordinarily decorated 16-inch-tall Egyptian Ptolemaic child sarcophagus helmet mask (shown above), circa 332-30 BCE, is crafted from imported wood layered with gesso and linen, and lavishly gilded and hand-painted. Another example of this style of helmet mask, which, at the time of its creation would have been reserved only for those who could afford expensive gilding, is held in The British Museum’s collection. A winning bid of $18,000-$25,000 is anticipated.
Other Egyptian highlights include a Pre-dynastic (circa 4000-3600 BCE) black-top pottery jar with Bonhams provenance, estimate $10,000-$15,000; a remarkably well preserved bundle containing the body of a mummified sacred ibis, $10,000-$15,000; and a breathtaking circa 664-332 BCE limestone-block figural statue, with Christie’s provenance, whose front is covered in hieroglyphs, $45,000-$65,000.
The wealth of Ancient Greek art includes a magnificent Magna Graecia volute krater attributed to the White Saccos Painter, circa 330-310 BCE. Of elegant form and exhibiting elaborate decoration and iconography, this important vessel has graced several private collections over the years and has double Christie’s provenance since 1993. It appears in A.D. Trendall and A. Camitoglou’s First Supplement to the Red-Figured Vases of Apulia, 1983. Estimate: $50,000-$65,000. Also extremely significant, a monumental archaic Greek limestone statue of a mysterious sphinx, similar to an example in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, carries an $80,000-$120,000 estimate.
One of the fastest growing areas of interest with Artemis Gallery bidders is beautifully displayable Ancient Roman glass. A superb selection is available on June 20, including jewelry, vessels and other utilitarian wares; and such rarities as a free-blown emerald-green glass aryballos used for carrying oil to a public bath, est. $4,000-$6,000. Continuing into Roman art, top lots include a stunning mosaic depicting the head of Mercury, circa 1st-2nd century CE and possibly from Roman Tunisia, $25,000-$30,000; a marble head of Venus, ex La Reine Margot (Paris), $25,000-$35,000; and a fresco fragment depicting Perseus holding Medusa’s head and a sword, $25,000-$35,000.
Fascinating treasures of the Near East include a translated Babylonian clay barrel cylinder, $9,000-$15,000; a Syrian steatite zoomorphic vessel with Christie’s provenance, $7,500-$11,000; and a Mesopotamian (14th-13th century BCE faience head of shell and bitumen that was published in Beloved By Time: Four Millennia of Ancient Art, $12,000-$15,000.
The art of many Asian cultures will be showcased in the opening session, with a few of the premier entries being an impressive 10th-century Khmer buff/gray sandstone torso of a man, $6,000-$9,000; and two sensitively sculpted Gandharan heads: a dark gray schist depiction of Siddhartha, $10,000-$12,000; and a monumental stucco head of Bodhisattva modeled in the Greco-Buddhist tradition, $15,000-$20,000. A monumental Neolithic (3400-2250 BCE) Chinese carved-stone bi disc in a mesmerizing medley of green hues measures 34.75 inches in diameter and commands a $25,000-$35,000 estimate.
The opening session also includes an array of Viking weapons and jewelry, as well as a selection of Russian icons and both European and American art, including a signed George Rodrigue Red Blue Dog artist’s proof, $4,000-$6,000; and Salvador Dali Daum and Puiforcat plates and artist-signed lithographs.
Day 2 focuses on premier ethnographic art, including Pre-Columbian, Native American, African/tribal, Oceanic and Spanish colonial examples. In addition, the session includes 19 outstanding fossils, some of them massive in size.
The Pre-Columbian art section features some of the rarest and most desirable pieces ever to have appeared at auction. An Olmec (southern Mexico to Guatemala) seated terracotta infant, Oxford TL-tested, is modeled in the “baby face” style and reflects the cultural practice of skull shaping. Estimate: $15,000-$25,000. A marvelous Aztec sculpture of a pumpkin, squash or cacao pod, carved from a single piece of marble, is expected to make $15,000-$20,000; while a highly ornamental hammered-copper mask with 15 “danglers” suspended from the face and wings, produced by the Sican/Lambayeque people of northern coastal Peru, could reach $40,000-$50,000. Also reflecting the high art of the Sican/Lambayeque people, a 14K gold crown with four figural repousse panels, 800-1000 CE, is entered with a $40,000-$52,000 estimate; and a fabulous Sican 14K gold ceremonial mask plus tunic richly adorned with gold appliques weigh in at $50,000-$70,000.
Considered a ceramic masterpiece of its time, a Moche II (Peru) figural vessel in the form of a kneeling warrior is studded with lapis and turquoise and holds a staff made of 14K gold wrapped around a copper wire and topped by a mace head of amethyst. Dating to circa 300-400 CE, it is estimated at $10,000-$14,000. There are numerous other fine Pre-Columbian pieces, including a Teotihuacan green stone mask, $10,000-$15,000; a Jalisco Ameca pottery figure of a woman, ex Hollywood collection, $18,000-$25,000; and a tall Mayan codex pottery cylinder painted with the image of a skeletal god, $22,000-$30,000.
The fascination with Native American relics and art, including those associated with tribes of the Northwest Coast, has grown in no small measure from the exposure such objects have received on PBS Television’s Antiques Roadshow. Artemis Gallery is proud to present at auction a grouping of 34 Native American masks, carvings, pipes, rattles, pottery, beaded items, including a 19th-century Nootka mask with abalone inlays (ex Bonhams), $12,000-$18,000; and a 19th-century argillite platter in the form of a relief owl by Ivan Otterlifter, $14,000-$20,000.
Immediately following is the ethnographic art section, whose highlights include an early 20th-century African Lele (Democratic Republic of the Congo) wood and copper painted mask, $4,000-$6,000; a rare 19th-century Marquesas Islands wooden U’u club, $4,500-$6,500; and an ancient Hawaiian volcanic stone religious idol, $17,500-$25,000.
Nineteenth-century Spanish colonial artworks of a largely religious nature include santos, painted retablos, figural carvings, and an alms box. A striking Mexican painted-tin retablo representing “La Cruz de Animas (Cross of Souls)” is estimated at $900-$1,400.
The Thursday session concludes with a museum-quality lineup of prehistoric fossils. At the more-affordable end, an Ordovician double-Asaphid trilobite fossil is estimated at $4,000-$6,000; while a fossilized dog skull from the Iron Age, origin Holland, is entered with a $3,000-$4,500 estimate. At the top of this grouping’s pre-sale estimates are a Cretaceous Hadrosaur articulated spine fossil from Montana, $40,000-$60,000; a Jurassic giant squid fossil, $25,000-$36,000; and a multiple Coccosteus armored fish fossil from the Middle Devonian period (circa 380 million years ago), origin Scotland, which is estimated at $25,000-$36,000.
Absentee and Internet live bidding for Artemis Gallery’s Wednesday and Thursday, June 20-21, 2018 online auction will be available through LiveAuctioneers. For additional information on any item in the sale, call Teresa Dodge at 720-890-7700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Online: www.artemisgallery.com