Fresh-to-Market Antiquities, Pre-Columbian & Tribal Art presented by Artemis Gallery on Feb. 14
02/07/2015

The carefully authenticated selection contains antiquities, ancient and ethnographic art from the most intriguing cultures of the past

Online PR News – 07-February-2015 – Boulder, CA – Fascinating relics and treasures of the Ancient World will come to life on Friday, February 13th as Artemis Gallery presents 400+ pedigreed lots in its Antiquities, Pre-Columbian & Tribal Art Auction. The carefully authenticated selection contains antiquities, ancient and ethnographic art from the most intriguing cultures of the past, including those of Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Near/Middle East, Asia and Pre-Columbian Americas.

All auction items are guaranteed to be authentic, exactly as described in the auction catalog, and legal to purchase. In the case of African tribal art, Artemis Gallery guarantees all items are genuine and that they were originally used in ceremonies or ritual events, as opposed to being contemporary pieces crafted specifically for the tourist trade.

Several prestigious collections are represented in the February 13 auction. A grouping of more than 50 Pre-Columbian artworks collected by a Hollywood producer comes with provenance from the late Ron Messick’s gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a business that was known for its high-end offerings and knowledgeable clientele. Also to be auctioned are 20+ Pre-Columbian lots of Western Mexico origin that previously were sold by Sotheby’s. Many are former museum deaccessions.

In addition, the auction includes more than 30 well-provenanced African and tribal lots from an old American collection and – a special highlight – three 18th/19th-century Tibetan thangkas. Thangkas are religious paintings used by Buddhists to tell the story of Buddha’s life through painted images.

“We are so fortunate to be able to be able to offer these beautiful, early thangkas in our sale. It’s rare for examples this nice to appear in the marketplace, especially with such excellent provenance,” said Bob Dodge, executive director of Artemis Gallery. “These thangkas came from a world-famous mountaineer who summited most of the tallest peaks on earth.” The thangkas are estimated at $4,000-$8,000 apiece.

The star of the auction is Lot 112, a rare and exceptional Veracruz stone ballgame yoke dating to circa 550-900 CE. Likely a ceremonial representation of a lighter protective guard worn by Mesoamerican ballgame players, the yoke is deeply carved with relief images of a human head, hands and legs. The shape of the yoke symbolizes a cave or entrance to the underworld. Comprehensive laboratory testing in France confirmed the age of the piece, and the 13-page report will convey to the winning bidder. Formerly in the Ian Arundel collection, the yoke is expected to make $125,000-$175,000 at auction.

Another fantastic Pre-Columbian artwork is Lot 89, a circa 550-950 CE terracotta figure in elaborate warrior regalia, seated on a bench or throne. Its adornments included a “feathered” headdress, large earspools, a bold pectoral guard and wristbands. This wonderfully detailed 19 by 9-inch figure was acquired via Sotheby’s in 1993 and is now offered with a presale estimate of $9,000-$12,000.

Exquisite jewelry of ancient cultures will be available to bidders, including Lot 79A, a Pre-Columbian (circa 500-100 BCE) gold nose ornament with a bas-relief crab and fish motif, ex Eugene Lions collection, Geneva, Switzerland. Its estimate is $7,000-$8,000. Stunning and wearable, a high-karat gold Byzantine cross with central cabochon garnet and pendant earrings, 8th to 10th century CE, are entered as Lot 70A with an estimate of $18,000-$25,000; while Lot 72A, a huge circa 10th to 12th century CE silvered bronze annular brooch with incised decoration carries an estimate of $3,000-$5,000.

Those who appreciate classical Greek Attic pottery would immediately recognize the high level of artistry that went into Lot 25, a circa 2nd quarter 5th century BCE terracotta kantharos. The double-handle vessel with Greek-key banding features an all-over iridescent black glaze and a large red owl between two red laurel sprigs. Acquired in Zurich in 1984 and exhibited at the New York International Antiquarian Fine Art Fair in 2001, this superbly preserved work of art is estimated at $6,000-$8,000.

Lot 31A, a richly decorated pottery oinochoe (beaked vessel for pouring liquid) from Campania, southwestern Italy, dates to around 360-340 B.C.E. Its motif includes a reclining female – possibly an Amazon – accompanied by a shield, palmettes, a swan or goose to each side, and a Lady of Fashion portrait. Ex Royal Athena Gallery, New York, the 8¾-inch vessel of very rare form is estimated at $7,000-$9,000.

It is all but impossible to avoid the gaze of Lot 35, a Romano Egyptian painted gesso funerary mask, circa 1st century CE. The realistic three-dimensional sarcophagus mask of a youthful male retains the majority of its paint and has well-defined facial features and a “Caesar” hairstyle. From a private collection originally amassed by a British telegraph worker posted in Egypt in the 1920s, it is estimated at $5,000-$7,000.

Bob Dodge described Lot 36D as “one of the finest Roman oil lamps we’ve ever had the pleasure of handling.” The cast-bronze lamp is a three-dimensional standing figure of a nude African male holding a torch that acts as the spout. A small hole in its left shoulder acts as the fill hole. Standing 6 inches high (not counting custom stand) and boasting a multi-hued patina, this connoisseur’s piece could reach $15,000-$20,000 on auction day.

There are many ways in which to bid in Artemis Gallery’s Feb. 13, 2015 auction, including absentee, by phone (please reserve line in advance), or live via the Internet. For additional information about any item in the auction, call Teresa Dodge at 720-502-5289 or email teresa@artemisgallery.com.