BOULDER, Colo. – Artemis Gallery will launch its busy fall auction season with a Thursday, Sept. 24 online auction led by Part II of the late James Caswell’s collection. Caswell was an artist, National Endowment for the Arts Fellow and respected owner of Historia Antiques in Santa Monica, California. The entire Caswell estate consignment, which comprises approximately 40 to 50 percent of Artemis Gallery’s Ancient, Ethnographic and Spanish Colonial Auction inventory, is cataloged with estimates at or below cost.
“This sale will be an outstanding buying opportunity for dealers and collectors alike,” said Teresa Dodge, managing director of Artemis Gallery. “Rarely do we see material of this caliber ‘priced to sell.’ And due to popular demand, we’re making our Marketplace section of more-affordable items the ‘closer’ in this and all future sales. Collectors love it.”
Several other high-quality collections are represented in the 400-lot event, most notably that of Mexican-born silent film star Lupita Tovar. The pieces acquired by Ms. Tovar have remained on display in her Bel Air mansion for many years
The auction is broad in scope and contains ancient and ethnographic art from the Americas to Southeast Asia. One of the top highlights is Lot 17, a stunning 31-inch Greek transport amphora, circa 3rd to 2nd century BCE, with provenance from the William Dale collection. Mr. Dale was a lifelong US diplomat who amassed a sizable antiquities collection while posted in the Near East. He brought his collection home to America in 1964. The amphora is estimated at $7,000-$9,000 and, like all items in the auction, is guaranteed authentic, exactly as described in the catalog, and legal to buy/sell under the US statute covering cultural patrimony. Each lot sold will transfer to the new owner with a certificate of authenticity from Artemis Gallery.
Enjoy a montage of photos and film clips featuring Ms. Tovar...
Another great prize is Lot 48, a 2,500-year-old Chinese Warring States bronze axle cap that dates to circa 475-221 BCE. Originally part of a cart or chariot, the vase-form piece is decorated in low relief with sinewy dragons in a cloudy sky. Additional decorative work appears on six triangular panels. Formerly in a Pasadena, California collection, it is expected to make $4,000-$5,000 at auction.
“There are so many important items in James Caswell’s collection, it’s difficult to choose even a few that merit special mention, but some of his silver is remarkable,” said Dodge. Lot 180, a circa-1800 Mexican coconut shell chalice fitted with a silver ormolu stem, rim and base is carved with sophisticated sgraffito of a type associated with itinerant traders and sailors of that period. The 8-inch-tall chalice is estimated at $2,500-$3,000.
An exceptional sterling silver Spanish Colonial-style crown made by Andean silversmiths in Bolivia, circa late-19th to early 20th century, was hand-hammered and expertly molded in repousse, then chased throughout. The wonderfully decorated crown with a cross-shape finial weighs 8.5 ounces and measures 6 by 7 inches. It was likely intended for a santo figure. Also from the Historia Antiques/James Caswell collection, the crown is estimated at $900-$1,200.
The Caswell collection boasts many fine Latin American retablos, including Lot 169, an artist-signed (Ignacio Munoz) and dated (1868) depiction of Mater Dolorosa, a popular subject venerating the Virgin Mary. Polychrome painted primarily in blues and greens, and measuring 14 by 10 inches, it is modestly estimated at $1,500-$1,800.
A wealth of Mayan and other Pre-Columbian artifacts from Jalisco, Chancy and Casas Grandes, Ramos, etc., will be offered. From the Lupita Tovar collection comes Lot 79, a 13-inch Colima (Western Mexico) redware dog effigy with handsome manganese blooms and burnishing marks. Its endearing expression, almond-shape eyes and open, toothy mouth sets this pudgy pooch apart from other Colima dogs. It could reach a high bid of $1,500-$3,000.
“Anyone with a passion for antiquities, ethnographic art or Pre-Columbian art should make a point to browse through the catalog very carefully,” said Dodge. “It’s not every day that pieces with important provenance come to the market with such affordable estimates. Some of the great, early collectors with Hollywood money to burn once owned items in this sale, including the late Edward G. Robinson, who was one of the most supremely knowledgeable art buyers of his time.”
Bidders may participate in Artemis Gallery’s Thursday, Sept. 24, 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.