Artemis Gallery to host March 24 Exceptional Auction featuring museum-quality antiquities, Asian, ethnographic, fine and visual art

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Featured: Ancient Egyptian boat model discovered near Luxor, Ancient Greek pottery, exquisite Imperial Roman marbles, rare Pre-Columbian art, Asian sculptures, fossils

BOULDER, Colo. – Discerning collectors of cultural art always look forward to Artemis Gallery’s auctions produced under the “Exceptional Antiquities” banner. That particular series of sales represents the finest ancient, ethnographic and fine art consignments entrusted to the renowned Artemis team for expert vetting, marketing and sale. The next Exceptional Auction is slated for Thursday, March 24, and as always, each item will convey to its new owner with an Artemis Gallery Certificate of Authenticity. 

Fossilized female stingray and three fish atop a palm frond, from Green River Formation (Wyoming), Eocene Period, circa 53.5 to 48.5 million years ago. Size: 31in long by 31¼in high. Provenance: private Berthoud, Colorado collection. Estimate $24,000-$36,000
Fossilized female stingray and three fish atop a palm frond, from Green River Formation (Wyoming), Eocene Period, circa 53.5 to 48.5 million years ago. Size: 31in long by 31¼in high. Provenance: private Berthoud, Colorado collection. Estimate $24,000-$36,000

With more than 400 museum-worthy pieces, this auction presents a visual history of the world’s greatest civilizations. There are classical antiquities (Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Near Eastern), as well as Viking, Far East/Asian, Pre-Columbian, African/tribal/Oceanic, Native American and Spanish Colonial relics. In addition, the sale includes gorgeous ancient jewelry, fossils of astonishing quality, and many other items from the greater realm of visual arts. Backed by Artemis Gallery’s due diligence and expertise, each item comes to auction with the assurance that it was legally acquired and, if desired, can be legally resold.

The mysteries of Ancient Egypt will come to life in the form of a large cedar sarcophagus panel with painted images of the jackal-headed god Anubis and the goddess of the sky, Nut, $20,000-$30,000; a deeply pedigreed (ex Alan Dershowitz/Carolyn Cohen collection; Christie’s, 1996) Romano-Egyptian cartonnage mummy mask, $30,000-$45,000); and a remarkable 19-inch-long Pre-Dynastic (Naqada II to Naqada III, circa 3500-3000 BCE) terracotta canoe-form boat model.  Measuring 19 inches long and with a pinched keel, this distinctive piece was published in the 1909 reference The Light of Egypt, by Robert de Rustafjaell, who found the relic at Gebelein, 17 miles from Luxor. With a record of previous sale at Sotheby’s London, January 20-24, 1913, it comes to auction with an estimate of $40,000-$50,000.

Pottery is dominant in the Ancient Greek section. Top examples include an Attic pottery kylix, or handled dish, with a dramatic image of a Hoplite (citizen soldier) with a scorpion shield, $40,000-$60,000; and an outstanding circa-4th-century Apulian (Magna Graecia, Southern Italy) red-figure bell krater with different imagery on each side, including Dionysus, a fine lady, and two youths. Auctioned in 1986 at Sotheby’s, it will now cross the auction block at Artemis Gallery with a $14,000-$21,000 estimate.

The Ancient Roman category is amply served with art from the Imperial Period, including a marble head of Hercules, ex Sotheby’s, $60,000-$90,000; a skillfully carved marble torso of a youthful Bacchus (ex Barakat Gallery, Beverly Hills, Calif.), $100,000-$150,000; and an exquisite circa 3rd-4th century CE stone mosaic depicting a marine scene, possibly from The Odyssey or The Holy Bible. Composed of thousands of variously colored tesserae, the mosaic depicts three figures on ships, a bird, a rabbit, and three fish, and is sized 110 inches wide by 80 inches high with a concrete mount. Absolutely unique and visually captivating, it is expected to reach $100,000-$150,000 at auction. Another highlight is an Etrusco-Corinthian wheel-thrown and polychrome painted amphora, circa late 7th century BCE, with a red-winged griffin motif. This 2ft-tall vessel sold at Christie’s New York in 2011, and in 1996, was acquired from the Swiss art market. Estimate: $70,000-$100,000

A variety of Near Eastern and Asian antiquities will be offered, among them a circa-2nd-century BCE to 2nd century CE South Arabian alabaster libation table with relief carved bull and ibex heads, $30,000-$45,000; and a circa-3rd-century CE Gandharan schist sculpture of Bodhisattva Maitreya, or the “Earthly Buddha.” Seated in the lotus position, the figure has his hand raised in the abhayamudra (fearlessness) gesture, his billowing robe secured at the waist with a stippled belt. Measuring 12.6 inches high on an included custom stand, it is estimated at $18,000-$25,000.

A wealth of Pre-Columbian art has been reserved for this sale. Highlights include: a sensational circa 500-200 BCE Proto Nazca feline-deity textile from Paracas Necropolis (southern Peru) which was exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, $30,000-$45,000; a circa 1400-1521 CE monumental basalt bust of Cihuateotl (Divine Woman), $30,000-$50,000; and a superb Pre-Columbian Chavin (northern coastal Peru) thick-walled soapstone vessel profusely carved with relief figures of a fanged deity and a jaguar with a partial serpent tail. Made sometime between 1200-500 BCE, this phenomenal work of art is entered in the auction with a $24,000-$36,000 estimate.

The Native American art selection offers an excellent variety that runs the gamut from an 18th-century Algonquin wood and iron-spike war club, $5,000-$7,500; to a hand-woven and dyed early to mid-20th-century Navajo Moki “eye dazzler” wool blanket, $10,000-$18,500. It would have taken an accomplished potter to create the Tularosa (New Mexico) pottery jar from the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) Period, circa 900-1450 CE. It features a tightly packed black-and-white geometric motif overall and is sized 10.2 inches high by 12.7 inches in diameter. Estimate: $8,000-$12,000

Artemis Gallery has long taken the lead in the fossils market and has sold some of the rarest and most desirable examples of ancient natural history specimens. In the March 24 sale, aficionados have many exciting choices, including a fossilized Calamopleurus bowfin fish in its matrix (Santana Formation, Brazil), $12,000-$18,000; a fossilized Megantereon cultridens (sabretooth cat) discovered in France, $55,000-$75,000; and a piece so remarkable it could pass for an artwork: a female stingray and three fish captured atop a palm frond. Discovered at the Green River Formation (Wyoming), this stunning fossil dates to the Eocene Period, circa 53.5 to 48.5 million years ago, and measures 31 by 31¼ inches. Estimate $24,000-$36,000

The name “Picasso” speaks for itself, representing the greatest and most enduring artist of the 20th century. While few can afford to purchase a major Picasso painting, there is another way to own a genuine Picasso design, and that’s in the form of pottery produced at the Madoura pottery works in Vallauris, France, following World War II. Many of Picasso’s creations were inspired by animals in and around the Madoura studio, including owls. Artemis Gallery is pleased to offer a Picasso glazed earthenware vase titled Chouette Aux Taches (Spotted Owl), conceived in 1951 and released in an edition of 300. The appealing owl entered in the auction is well marked and stamped EDITION PICASSO and MADOURA PLEIN FEU. It stands 11.375in high and comes from a private San Francisco collection. Estimate: $12,000-$18,000

The fine art section includes works by many names that are sought after by today’s collectors, starting with Patrick Nagel (American) 1945-1984. While he became famous for his alluring “Nagel Women,” the artist took a different approach with the one-of-a-kind mixed-media portrait of his mother, Rhea Nagel, which is entered in the auction as Lot 265. The high-contrast half-length view depicts Mrs. Nagel in an outdoor setting wearing a demure black coat with pink buttons, holding a wide-brimmed yellow hat. Nagel painted the portrait circa 1967-’69, and it was most recently in the private collection of Rob Frankel, who wrote Nagel’s biography The Artist Who Loved Women (2016). The auction estimate for the artwork, which is accompanied by an author-signed copy of the book, is $19,000-$38,000.

As outsider art continues to solidify its position as a uniquely American art form, several luminaries have risen to the top of the genre, among them Clementine Hunter, Bill Traylor, Howard Finster and Purvis Young (1943-2010), the Miami artist whose technique blended collage with painting and often incorporated found objects. A wonderful example of Young’s urban vision is seen in Lot 280, a sunny circa-1990s painting of a truck driving past tenement buildings. True to form, Young used a discarded real estate sign as his “canvas.” It is signed, measures 39.125 inches by 33¼ inches, and carries a pre-sale estimate of $3,000-$6,000.

Artemis Gallery’s Thursday, March 24, 2022 Exceptional Auction will start at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. All items come with Artemis Gallery’s guarantee that they are authentic and legal to purchase, own, and if desired, resell. An Artemis Gallery COA will accompany each purchase. The company ships worldwide and has its own in-house white-glove packing and shipping department to ensure quality control. For additional information about any item in the auction, call Teresa Dodge at 720-890-7700 or email [email protected]. Bid absentee or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.

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