BOULDER, Colo. – A superb collection of early Roman, Near Eastern, Thai and Cambodian bronzes from the collection of the late Dr. Charles Smithen leads a 300-lot lineup of fine antiquities and Asian art in Artemis Gallery’s March 19 online and absentee auction.
A distinguished New York City cardiologist, Dr. Smithen was also co-founder of
Sherwood House Vineyards in Mattituck, New York. “Dr. Smithen had a passion for life and was a man of great intellect. He was as careful in making art acquisitions as he was in practicing medicine. His buying choices showed that he had an analytical eye, the sign of a connoisseur,” said Bob Dodge, executive director of Artemis Gallery. “Many of his pieces were acquired from premier dealers such as Royal Athena Gallery, Doris Wiener, Ancient Art International, and Antiquarium Gallery, to name but a few. It is an honor to handle this very fine collection on behalf of the doctor’s estate.”
Other featured collections in the auction include Ancient Roman glass acquired during the first quarter of the 20th century, and African and South Pacific art from the renowned Pickard collection. Additionally, Artemis will present a large collection of early Pre-Columbian stone carvings from the Poolos collection. All of the Poolos pieces were acquired between 1950 and 1970, and many are unusual because they are of sizes rarely seen in either private collections or museums.
“It is important for all potential bidders to know that they may buy with absolute confidence when dealing with Artemis Gallery,” said Dodge. “Everything we sell is carefully authenticated and guaranteed to be absolutely authentic and legal to purchase. In the case of African tribal art, we also guarantee that the objects were originally used in ceremonies or ritual events, as opposed to being contemporary pieces crafted specifically for the tourist trade.”
The top-estimated item in the sale, Lot 10A, is a Cycladic Islands (Greece) Early Bronze Age I, circa 3000-2900 BCE, kandila of cream-colored marble. The vessel comes with provenance from New York private collector Ted Ashley, who acquired it in 1983 from Marcel Gebralt, New York City. A copy of the original purchase receipt will convey with the item, which is estimated at $15,000-$25,000. A Greek pottery treasure, Lot 21 is a highly decorative Campanian red-figure kylix, entered with a $5,000-$7,000 estimate.
Lot 86A, a rare 3rd to 6th century CE Japanese Kofun period Haniwa figure was
previously held in a prominent Hawaiian collection. A thermoluminescence (TL) report that accompanies the piece confirms its age. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000.
With provenance from Doris Wiener, Lot 80 is a museum-quality Khmer bronze Buddha grouping dating to the late 1100s/early 1200s. “During the Angkor period of the Khmer Empire, sculptors had mastered the art of bronze casting,” Dodge noted. “This grouping is an ensemble of three divinities, with the central figure, Buddha, protected by a ‘naga,’ or multi-headed serpent.” The piece is similar to an example shown in the 2011 catalog for an exhibition organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution, J. Paul Getty Museum, and National Museum of Cambodia. With provenance from the Dr. Charles Smithen collection, it is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.
A large and magnificent Bamana Empire (West Africa) male Chi Wara crest mask was created to represent a hybrid fantasy animal that combines physiological features of the antelope, aardvark and pangolin. Similar to an example that sold at Christie’s in 2012 for $47,500, Lot 188 is conservatively estimated at $7,000-$10,000.
Other auction highlights include: Lot 50, a rare Roman bronze pyxis with enamel inlays, $5,000-$7,000; Lot 160, an important Papua New Guinea Kominimung mask, $3,000-$6,000; and Lot 121, a 10-inch-tall Pre-Columbian Mezcala anthropomorphic stone axe god, ex Adeon Gallery, Chicago, $3,000-$6,000.
Bidders may participate in Artemis Gallery’s March 19, 2015 auction live online, by phone (please reserve phone line in advance) or by leaving an absentee bid that will be lodged confidentially and competitively on their behalf. The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern Time and will be conducted simultaneously on three bidding platforms: ArtemisGalleryLIVE.com, LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. For additional information about any item in the auction, call Teresa Dodge at 720-502-5289 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.