BOULDER, Colo. – Fresh consignments from seasoned private collections will take the spotlight on Thursday, August 30 as Artemis Gallery presents a 376-lot auction of fine antiquities, Asian and ethnographic art, with absentee and Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers. The expertly curated selection includes treasures from the world’s most fascinating cultures, going as far back as the Ancient Egyptians and other early Middle Eastern civilizations. As is the case at each and every Artemis Gallery event, all lots are guaranteed to be authentic, legal to purchase and, if desired, resell. A letter of authenticity will accompany each auction item.
The journey through time begins in mystical Egypt, with a pre-dynastic buffware jar slated as the sale’s opening lot. Dating to circa 3400-3200 BCE, the terracotta vessel of globular form is decorated throughout with red pigment in a series of panels. Formerly auctioned at Sotheby’s and similar to an example in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, it is estimated at $2,000-$3,000. From the Old Kingdom period (circa 2686-2181 BCE), a limestone relief sculpture with Bonhams provenance displays some discernible hieroglyphs and two human heads. “Reliefs of this type lined the walls of Egyptian tombs, temples and palaces,” noted Teresa Dodge, managing director of Artemis Gallery. “Artisans created them in a very specific style, using pigments derived from local minerals.” The auction estimate for the 11-inch-high relief is $9,000-$12,000.
There are several outstanding Greek vessels in the sale. A Magna Graecia Paestan (Poseidonia) red-figure neck amphora with images of a standing Dionysos on one side and an elegant Maenad on the other, ex Christie’s, is expected to make $7,000-$10,000. Another great prize, a 5th-century BCE Attic black-figure lekythos is incised and painted with images of a draped Maenad flanked by two jubilant satyrs. Of fine, slender form and exhibiting a high standard of artistry, the 8.75-inch vessel carries a $12,000-$18,000 estimate.
A beautifully cast circa-5th-century BCE Etruscan bronze statue of Laran/Mars, god of war, is poised as though headed to battle with his arm in a sword- or spear-throwing position. The 6.75-inch figure is dressed like a Greek hoplite, wearing a helmet and short tunic, and his facial expression is resolute and confident. Estimate: $16,000-$24,000
Ancient jewelry attracts new bidders to each successive Artemis Gallery auction, and the August 30 event features some of the most desirable pieces the company has offered to date. For example, a 22K gold necklace composed of 56 blue-and-white glass “eye” beads with six larger gold separator beads measures 17 inches long and is estimated at $4,000-$6,000. A very special 18K gold and onyx cameo pendant dating to the Roman Imperial Period, circa late-2nd to early 3rd century CE, encircles a carved depiction of a couple gazing at each other lovingly. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000. There are many other stunning bracelets, rings, pendants and necklaces from which to choose, as well as an array of Greek and Roman glass. Strong competition is anticipated for an unusually large (5.75-inch-high) Roman pale green glass jug with a striated, applied handle. Estimate: $5,500-$8,250
Featured: Ancient Roman marble head of Venus with prestigious Paris provenance
Leading the Ancient Roman category is a 1st-century CE (Imperial) carved marble head of Venus, of a style known as the Aphrodite Frejus or Louvre-Naples type. This striking depiction of the goddess whose beauty inspired great rivalry amongst the gods is detailed with a center-parted coiffure and long, wavy locks that culminate in a twist above her neck. It is similar to a Roman marble head of Venus Genetrix that sold for $87,500 at Christie’s New York in 2016. Artemis Gallery has placed a conservative $22,000-$33,00 estimate on their example, which has a distinguished line of provenance that includes the collection of La Reine Margot, a third-generation antiquities business in Paris.
Solidly crafted Viking weaponry and jewelry feature prominently, with top lots including an important 9th-11th century CE iron long sword, Oakeshott Type X, with inlaid gold designs, $17,000-$25,000; a large 7th-century CE iron broad-axe head, $3,000-$5,000; and a hefty 181.6g near-solid silver bracelet with deeply incised decorative motifs, $4,000-$6,000.
Many ancient and influential cultures are represented within the Asian offerings, starting with two exceptional Gandharan artworks. A superbly carved circa-1st century CE) dark gray schist head of Siddharta, in a very fine state of preservation, is estimated at $11,000-$16,500; while a later (3rd to mid-5th century CE) stucco head of Bodhisattva – a massive 28.25 inches high – is expected to reach $15,000-$22,500. A Khmer stone torso of a man, 10th-12th century CE, is estimated at $5,500-$8,250.
Pre-Columbian highlights range from a circa-300-100 BCE Paracas (southern coastal Peru) spouted jaguar and snake effigy vessel, TL tested and estimated at $9,500-$12,000; to a rare and highly important Olmec (southern Mexico to Guatemala) kaolin-slipped earthenware figure of a baby, circa 1200-600 BCE, $18,000-$27,000.
A distinguished lineup of African tribal art will be auctioned. Top lots include a Tiv (Nigerian) carved-wood standing female ancestral figure known as an “ihambe,” $6,000-$8,000; and an outstanding circa early 20th century carved wooden mask from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Lele or Bashilele people), ornately decorated with cowrie and glass trade beads, palm leaves, quills and Kuba cloth. Estimate: $5,000-$7,000
Artemis often concludes its sales with several select artworks, and the August 30 auction is no exception. Leading the art is an appealing Marc Chagall (Russian/French, 1887-1985) color lithograph titled Maternity and Centaur. Artist-signed and numbered 56/90, the 1957 work is entered with a $5,500-8,250 estimate.
Absentee and Internet live bidding for Artemis Gallery’s Thursday, August 30, 2018 online auction will be available through LiveAuctioneers. Start time: 10 a.m. ET. For additional information on any item in the sale, call Teresa Dodge at 720-890-7700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.