Mysterious ancient limestone sphyinx may soar past $100K

BOULDER, Colo. – The Colorado-based company Artemis Gallery is preparing for a two-day Exceptional Auction, whose format features antiquities and fine Asian art and ethnographic art and fossils. The next event of this type is June 20-21, with absentee and Internet live bidding available through LiveAuctioneers.

Ancient Egypt, Greece, Columbian Cultures Represent

Multiple Devonian Coccosteus armored fish fossil, circa 380 million years old, origin Scotland, $25,000-$36,000

As is the case with every Artemis sale, all pieces offered are pre-vetted by a research team led by gallery co-owners and renowned industry experts Bob and Teresa Dodge. All convey with an Artemis Gallery COA and are unconditionally guaranteed to be authentic, as described in the catalog, and legal to purchase, own, and if desired, resell.

The exquisite array of antiquities and Asian fine art knows no international borders and follows a timeline that starts in Ancient Egypt and proceeds through the centuries to the colonial settlements of the New World. A 16-inch-tall Egyptian Ptolemaic child sarcophagus helmet mask, circa 332-30 BCE, from wood with layers of  gesso and linen is among the feature lots.

Ceremonial Masks Facing Bidders

Another example of this style of helmet mask, which, at the time of its creation would have been reserved only for those who could afford expensive gilding, is held in The British Museum’s collection. A winning bid of $18,000-$25,000 is anticipated. Other Egyptian highlights include a Pre-dynastic (circa 4000-3600 BCE) black-top pottery jar with Bonhams provenance, estimate $10,000-$15,000; a remarkably well preserved bundle containing the body of a mummified sacred ibis, $10,000-$15,000; and a breathtaking circa 664-332 BCE limestone-block figural statue, with Christie’s provenance, whose front is covered in hieroglyphs, $45,000-$65,000.

The wealth of Ancient Greek art includes a magnificent Magna Graecia volute krater attributed to the White Saccos Painter, circa 330-310 BCE. Of elegant form and exhibiting elaborate decoration and iconography, this important vessel has graced several private collections over the years and has double Christie’s provenance since 1993. It appears in A.D. Trendall and A. Camitoglou’s First Supplement to the Red-Figured Vases of Apulia, 1983. Estimate: $50,000-$65,000. Also extremely significant, a monumental archaic Greek limestone statue of a mysterious sphinx, similar to an example in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, carries an $80,000-$120,000
estimate.

Roman Glass On Offer

One of the fastest growing areas of interest with Artemis Gallery bidders is Ancient Roman glass. A

Child sarcophagus helmet mask

Ancient Egyptian Ptolemaic gilded child sarcophagus helmet mask, may bring $18,000-$25,000

superb selection is available on June 20, including jewelry, vessels and other utilitarian wares; and such rarities as a free-blown emerald-green glass aryballos used for carrying oil to a public bath, est. $4,000-$6,000.

Continuing into Roman art, top lots include a stunning mosaic depicting the head of Mercury, circa 1st-2nd century CE and possibly from Roman Tunisia, $25,000-$30,000; a marble head of Venus, ex La Reine Margot (Paris), $25,000-$35,000; and a fresco fragment depicting Perseus holding Medusa’s head and a sword, $25,000-$35,000.

Fascinating treasures of the Near East include a translated Babylonian clay barrel cylinder, $9,000-$15,000; a Syrian steatite zoomorphic vessel with Christie’s provenance, $7,500-$11,000; and a Mesopotamian (14th-13th century BCE faience head of shell and bitumen that was published in Beloved By Time: Four Millennia of Ancient Art, $12,000-$15,000.

Influence of Multiple Cultures Showcased

The art of many Asian cultures are present, with a few of the premier entries being an impressive 10th-century Khmer buff/gray sandstone torso of a man, $6,000-$9,000; and two sensitively sculpted Gandharan heads: a dark gray schist depiction of Siddhartha, $10,000-$12,000; and a monumental stucco head of Bodhisattva modeled in the Greco-Buddhist tradition, $15,000-$20,000. A monumental Neolithic (3400-2250 BCE) Chinese carved-stone bi disc in a mesmerizing medley of green hues measures 34.75 inches in diameter and commands a $25,000-$35,000 estimate.

Additional featured lots of the opening session include:

  • Crown

    Sican/Lambayeque (northern coastal Peru) 14K gold crown with four figural repousse panels, 800-1000 CE, $40,000-$52,000.

    Signed George Rodrigue Red Blue Dog artist’s proof ($4,000-$6,000).

  • An Olmec seated terracotta infant, Oxford TL-tested, modeled in the ‘baby-face’ style ($15,000-$25,000).
  • Aztec sculpture of a pumpkin, squash or cacao pod, carved from single piece of marble ($15,000-$20,000).
  • Hammered-copper mask with 15 ‘danglers’ suspended from the face and wings, produced by the Sican/Labayeque people of northern coastal Peru ($40,000-$50,000).
  • 14K gold crown with four figural repousse panels, 800-1000 CE, Sican/Lambayeque culture ($40,000-$52,000).
  • 14K gold Sican ceremonial mask and tunic with gold appliques ($50,000-$70,000)

Ceramic Vessels Depict Cultures

Another object on offer is a ceramic masterpiece of its time, a Moche II (Peru) figural vessel in the form of a kneeling warrior with lapis and turquoise and holds a staff made of 14K gold around a copper wire with a mace head of amethyst. Dating to circa 300-400 CE, it hosts an estimate of $10,000 to $14,000. There are numerous other fine Pre-Columbian pieces, including a Teotihuacan green stone mask, $10,000-$15,000; a Jalisco Ameca pottery figure of a woman, ex Hollywood collection, $18,000-$25,000; and a tall Mayan codex pottery cylinder featuring the image of a skeletal god, $22,000-$30,000.

The fascination with Native American relics and art, including those associated with
tribes of the Northwest Coast, has grown in no small measure from the exposure such
objects have received on PBS Television’s Antiques Roadshow. Artemis Gallery is proud
to present at auction a grouping of 34 Native American masks, carvings, pipes, rattles,
pottery, beaded items, including a 19th-century Nootka mask with abalone inlays (ex
Bonhams), $12,000-$18,000; and a 19th-century argillite platter in the form of a relief
owl by Ivan Otterlifter, $14,000-$20,000. A huge (50 inches high) 19th-century Tlingit house panel of a figure clasping a fish bears a $9,000-$14,000 estimate.

Finds Include Fossils

The sale concludes with a museum-quality lineup of prehistoric fossils. At the more-affordable end, an Ordovician double-Asaphid trilobite fossil carries an estimate of $4,000-$6,000; while a fossil dog skull from the Iron Age, origin Holland, comes into the sale with a $3,000-$4,500 estimate. At the top of this grouping’s pre-sale estimates are a Cretaceous Hadrosaur articulate spine fossil from Montana, $40,000-$60,000; a Jurassic giant squid fossil, $25,000-$36,000; and a multiple Coccosteus fish fossil from the Middle Devonian period (circa 380 million years ago), origin Scotland, which bears an estimate of $25,000-$36,000.

For more information, visit www.artemisgallery.com, call Teresa Dodge at 720-890-7700 or email
teresa@artemisgallery.com.

Volute krater

Magna Graecia volute krater attributed to the White Saccos Painter, circa 330-310 BCE, with an estimate of $50,000-$65,000.

COMMENT