Bid with confidence in Artemis Gallery’s June 29 Exceptional Antiquities, Ethnographic and Fine Art Auction featuring museum-quality pieces
Special Highlight: Ancient Egyptian antiquities from the highly important collection of physician and renowned Egyptology scholar Dr. W. Benson Harer Jr. of Los Angeles
BOULDER, Colo. – Internationally known and frequently called upon for expert consultation, Artemis Gallery has auctioned some of the world’s finest collections of ancient, cultural and ethnographic art. Each of their auction events is expertly curated, with careful thought given to including historical treasures to please both the connoisseur and motivated new collector. Artemis Gallery’s Thursday, June 29 lineup features a stellar array of objects with deep provenance – some whose trail of ownership can traced back as far as the turn of the 20th century.
The sale totaling 330+ lots boasts many items that have been museum-exhibited and/or published in important reference books. They are led by highly important Ancient Egyptian antiquities from the collection of Dr. W. Benson Harer Jr., of Los Angeles, a distinguished medical doctor and renowned scholar in the field of Egyptology. Dr. Harer’s collection of top-tier Egyptian art and artifacts is the largest of its type west of the Mississippi River and has served as the centerpiece for many educational programs at California State University, San Bernardino.
Among the many great prizes in the Harer collection is an Ancient Egyptian sandstone panel with three fragmentary columns inscribed with hieroglyphs and a left-facing female figure, perhaps a goddess consort. It dates to the Late Third Intermediate or Ptolemaic Period, circa 760-30 BCE, and stands 20.5 inches high. The panel is well known in antiquities circles, having been exhibited from 1986 to 1991 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in 1993 at Arizona Museum of Art, and from 1996 to 2023 at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art at California State University, San Bernardino. It also appears in an important 1992 reference written by Dr. Gerry D. Scott III titled Temple, Tomb and Dwelling: Egyptian Antiquities from the Harer Family Trust Collection. It is estimated at $45,000-$67,500.
Another highlight of Dr. Harer’s collection is a hand-carved Ancient Egyptian breccia jar from the Predynastic Period, Naqada I to II, circa 3650-3200 BCE. The 7.4-inch piroform vessel displays attractive mottled red and cream hues and has two pairs of lug handles. Like the aforementioned sandstone panel, it was exhibited at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art. It is shown in the reference book Predynastic Egyptian Pottery in CSUCB RAFFMA by Kaplan, et al. Provenance: Collection of Dr. W. Benson Harer Jr. Estimate $20,000-$30,000
Additional fine consignments of Ancient Egyptian relics include: a hand-carved wooden sarcophagus panel, circa 664-332 BCE, $14,000-$21,000; a spectacular circa 1075-945 BCE azure faience ushabti with hieroglyphs, ex Harer collection, ex Christie’s, $10,000-$15,000; and a leaded-bronze statue of the ibis-headed god Thoth from the Ptolemaic Period, circa 305-30 BCE, also estimated at $10,000-$15,000.
Some of the most amazing examples of Asian antiquities ever to be featured in an Artemis Gallery sale will be offered on June 29. An awe-inspiring artwork, a huge (45.27 inches high) 9th century CE Indonesian (Java) volcanic stone statue of the elephant-headed deity Ganesh originated in Java around the 9th century CE. It presents in a marvelous state of preservation, with detail work still clearly delineating the artwork’s features, which include a crown, two sets of hands, and a trunk that drinks from a petite vessel. The statue can be compared to a bronze example at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and another one of stone that is held in the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It has a long record of provenance, most recently owned by a private collector in Santa Barbara, California. Estimate: $60,000-$90,000
Another impressive Asian piece is the large (41 inches high) 11th-13th century CE Northern Indian Chandela Dynasty stone panel carved in high relief with the image of Saraswati, goddess of wisdom and learning music. In this particular depiction, she stands atop a pedestal and gazes down thoughtfully at the stringed instrument she is playing, which is known as a “veena.” The auction estimate is $30,000-$40,000.
Ancient Greek/Attic pottery – a staple in Artemis Gallery’s sales – is beautifully represented by a circa 6th century BCE stemmed red-figure kylix decorated with the image of a winged Nike (Roman: Victoria) holding a wreath before an altar. The glossy black vessel with horizontal handles measures 11.3 inches wide by 8.3 inches long and was most recently part of an Orange County, California, private collection. Estimate: $7,000-$10,500
There are some real gems in the Pre-Columbian and tribal art portions of the sale. A rare Pre-Columbian Olmec/Maya hand-carved stone jaguar mask, circa 500 BCE to 500 CE, has drilled holes at the temples, indicating it might have been made to wear during a ceremony or ritual. Its estimate is $8,000-$12,000.
From North America’s Pacific Northwest region comes a very rare circa 19th/early 20th century CE Tlingit bridal headdress adorned with dentalium (tusk) shells, glass beads, red felt strips, and tassels of shells hanging from the nape like a veil. In very fine condition and privately owned since the late 1960s or earlier, it is estimated at $15,000-$22,500. A wonderful early 20th century CE Haida wood and abalone headdress was skillfully hand-carved in the form of a sculpin fish from yew or alder and is 16.75 inches long. This rare head adornment is of a type that would have been worn during ceremonial dances or feasts. Its most recent provenance includes a Utah private collection and a Seattle, Washington private collection (1970s). Estimate: $8,000-$12,000
Fine and decorative art highlights include a George Catlin (American, 1796-1872) hand-colored lithograph titled JOC-O-SOT (The Walking Bear), A Sauk Chief from the Upper Missouri U.L. Am, which comes from the artist’s North American Indian Portfolio, $12,000-$18,000; and a Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) 9-inch ceramic plate from Madoura’s “Service Poisson” conceived in 1947. Properly stamped and numbered, it comes from an edition of 300 and is offered with an estimate of $7,000-$10,500.
Also worthy of note is a jewelry selection containing an outstanding selection of ancient and Neoclassical intaglio, scarab and cabochon rings, and topped by a spectacular Romain Jerome Steampunk Gold Chrono luxury watch. Made in Switzerland circa 2012, it is known as the “Titanic” watch because the bezel is made from stabilized rusted steel from the hull of the RMS Titanic. It has a sapphire crystal dial face, an 18K rose gold-brushed, rhodium-plated dial; and a distinctive engraving of a propeller on its case back. Retaining its original rose-gold/steel case with ID card and USB drive, it will cross the auction block with a $35,000-$40,000 estimate.
Artemis Gallery’s Thursday, June 29, 2023 Exceptional Ancient, Ethnographic & Fine Art Auction will start at 8 a.m. MT / 10 a.m. EDT. The company ships worldwide and has its own in-house white-glove packing and shipping department to ensure quality control. Absentee bidding is currently in progress. Detailed, authoritative descriptions and multiple photographic views of each auction lot may be viewed in the online catalog. All ancient items have been legally acquired and are legal to resell, if desired. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany each lot. 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.com.