Artemis Gallery to host Oct. 7 Exceptional Auction featuring museum-quality antiquities, Asian, ethnographic, fine and visual art

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Featured: Fine Roman Imperial Period marble torso of Bacchus, Olmec jade maskette of transforming were-jaguar, giant fossilized Asaphus trilobite colony, signed Warhols

BOULDER, Colo. – Authenticity and provenance have always formed the bedrock of Artemis Gallery’s auction business. In their lavishly illustrated catalogs, Artemis provides bidders with a virtual history lesson in each of its expertly researched catalog descriptions. A record of former ownership and previous auction appearances is included in all cases where such information is available. This level of provenance is especially important to bidders who participate in Artemis Gallery’s premium-level Exceptional Antiquities, Asian, Ethnographic & Fine Art auctions, the next of which is slated for Thursday, October 7, 2021. In this series of upscale auctions, Artemis Gallery presents its very finest offerings of the year, from private and institutional collections.

Finely carved and detailed Olmec jade maskette of transforming were-jaguar, Pre-Columbian, Mexico to Guatemala, circa 900-600 BC. Estimate $180,000-$270,000
Finely carved and detailed Olmec jade maskette of transforming were-jaguar, Pre-Columbian, Mexico to Guatemala, circa 900-600 BC. Estimate $180,000-$270,000

The October 7 lineup shines a spotlight on many of the world’s great cultures by means of the art and objects that have survived to form a material history for the ages to come. The chronological journey begins in Ancient Egypt with sensational rarities from a Toronto private collection. The pieces were acquired in Egypt from 1894 to 1896 and passed by family descent to the current owner. Among the top highlights is a stunning 21st Dynasty glazed faience ushabti, circa 1070-943 BCE. Hand-formed and finished in a lustrous blue glaze, the 5-inch figure’s hieroglyphic symbols read: “For the instruction of Osiris, An-mose.” Estimate: $16,000-$24,000. From the same collection, an important Egyptian New Kingdom Period (circa 1550-1077 BCE) jasper heart scarab with insectile features and eight lines of inscribed hieroglyphs taken from the Egyptian Book of the Dead is expected to reach $12,000-$18,000.

With provenance from a New Jersey private collection dating back to the 1980s, a beautiful Egyptian carved goat amulet of near-translucent amethyst stone dates to the Late Dynastic to Ptolemaic Period, circa 664-30 BCE. With delightfully naturalistic details, including a short goatee, it is similar to an example in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. Estimate: $9,000-$14,000

Amongst the Ancient Greek entries are two outstanding pottery vessels, the earlier being a 6th century BCE Attic oinochoe with trefoil spout and black-figure depictions of Dionysus and standing satyrs. The 9-inch-tall piece has been attributed to the “Class of Wurzburg 346” and is estimated at $14,000-$20,000. A marvelous 23.8-inch Greek Apulian red-figure volute krater, circa 330-320 BCE, is elegantly formed with an intriguing program of iconography and decoration that includes a goddess, a nude soldier and attendant, the head of a male (perhaps Apollo) and botanical and archaeological details, all executed to a very high standard. With parallels to a piece attributed to the Baltimore Painter, it is estimated at $16,000-$24,000. 

Ancient Roman highlights are led by a fine Imperial Period (circa 1st-2nd century CE) marble torso of a youthful, nude Bacchus holding a bunch of grapes. Although a fragment, it is an outstanding form with well-preserved details and musculature. Standing 19.875 inches high on its included custom stand, it is one of the sale top lots and is estimated at $100,000-$150,000. Also noteworthy, a circa 1st century BCE Roman fresco fragment depicting five figures, including Victory, Venus, Cupids, etc., comes to auction with a $30,000-$40,000 estimate.

The auction’s Asian section offers many connoisseur-level treasures, starting with a circa-12th-century CE Persian Seljuk pottery bowl with a scalloped rim and molded faces encircling its exterior. Measuring 5.5 inches in diameter and 3.75in high, it is finished in a heart-stoppingly gorgeous turquoise-blue glaze. “Such a glaze would have been the result of great technological innovation at the end of the 10th century. A piece like this one may have been inspired by the blue and white glazed pottery that traveled the Silk Road from Tang Dynasty China, but it displays an entirely different, radical style that was developed in Nishapur, the cultural center of medieval Persia,” noted Teresa Dodge, executive director of Artemis Gallery. The bowl has been TL-tested and found to be ancient and of the period. Estimate: $30,000-$45,000 

An extensive selection of Pre-Columbian art showcases the art of numerous Central and South American cultures. One of the auction’s undeniable superstars is a mesmerizing circa 900-600 BC Olmec jade maskette of a transforming were-jaguar. Originating in the region from Mexico to Guatemala, it is finely carved and string-cut. Its highly expressive details include feline eyes, a trapezoidal mouth with flared upper lip and dropping corners, and a flat nose with broad nostrils. Similar to an example at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC, it is one of the most incredible pieces of Pre-Columbian art ever to be auctioned by Artemis Gallery. Estimate:  $180,000-$270,000

Native-American art follows, with many tempting, fresh-to-the market items. Among the highlights is a 19th-century CE Zuni polychrome-painted pottery olla vessel, 11 inches high by 12.5 inches in diameter, acquired in the 1980s by William and Jane Frazer of Aspen, Colorado. Its appealing, densely decorative motif is known as “heartline deer in house” with a color palette of black, russet and plum shades. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000

A perennially popular category with Artemis Gallery bidders is fossils. Some of the wondrous specimens reserved for the October 7 sale include a massive 13.2lb karmacite meteorite slab discovered in 1516 CE in Nantan, China, $11,000-$16,000; and a rare, fossilized, circa 35-million to 19-million-year-old Hoplophoneus saber cat skull from the White River Formation in South Dakota, $30,000-$40,000. A truly remarkable giant fossilized colony of circa 295-million to 280-million-year-old Asaphus trilobites, origin North Africa, is estimated at $36,000-$54,000.

Fine & Visual Arts, a burgeoning department at Artemis Gallery, has gained a significant following, reflected by the larger-than-usual number of artworks chosen for the company’s Exceptional Auction series. The upcoming sale is filled with excellent buying opportunities, including two artist-signed Andy Warhol watercolors with strong provenance: his circa-1955 Shoe (Red Stocking); and circa-1958 Ferns & Flowers. Each is multiple-stamped on verso (including Warhol estate stamps) and carries an individual estimate of $15,000-$20,000. Another pop art legend, Peter Max, is represented in the auction by signed and framed paintings titled Palm Beach Lady (2006), $5,000-$8,000; and Suzin Ver. VIII #65 (2017), $5,000-$8,000. An unusual, 1967 hand-signed and numbered (67/15) original etching by Salvador Dali was sent by the artist with Christmas greetings to his friends Sidney and Phyllis Lucas (Phyllis Lucas Gallery), the first North American publishers of original Dali prints. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. For the many who appreciate Neo-Impressionist art, an 1897/1898 Paul Signac lithograph in six colors, titled Saint-Tropez: Le Port, is a must-see. From an edition of 100, it is signed in pencil and presented in a custom gilded frame. Estimate $15,000-$25,000

Artemis Gallery’s Thursday, October 7, 2021 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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James Ardis
James Ardis
Senior Writer and Editor

James Ardis is a writer, editor, and content strategist focused on the auction industry. His company, James Ardis Writing, has partnered with auction houses, galleries, and many clients outside the art world.

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