On Thursday, February 15, Artemis Gallery will present an important boutique auction of classical antiquities, ancient and ethnographic art with prestigious provenance. The highly refined, fully curated selection comprises 330 lots reflecting many of the world’s greatest cultures of the past, from Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman to Asian, African, Oceanic and Native American. In addition, there are many outstanding entries in the Viking, Pre-Columbian, Spanish Colonial and Russian sections of the sale, as well as fossils, ancient jewelry and an exciting new category for Artemis: fine art.
“In the course of our day-to-day business, we are privileged to visit many fine residences to evaluate and accept antiquities and ethnographic art for our sales, but often we are asked if we can accept fine art, as well,” said Artemis Gallery Managing Director Teresa Dodge. “We have highly qualified experts on our staff to appraise and correctly catalog artworks, so it was an easy decision to introduce a new fine art category as part of our February 15th sale.”
Following a logical timeline approach, the event will begin with a fascinating array of antiquities from Ancient Egypt. Among the top lots are a rare, original beaded mask ensemble, est. $4,000-$6,000; and a faience cup with a King Tut cartouche, $7,500-$12,500; but the unquestionable star of the Egyptian group is a painted wood sarcophagus dating to circa 664-30 BCE. The life-size, 73-inch coffin is a remarkable example of Egyptian artistry, profusely adorned with hieroglyphs (translation provided) and images of deities and mythological creatures. With provenance from a California private collection and importation papers documenting Swiss ownership prior to 1972, it is expected to reach $50,000-$70,000.
Unusual forms and remarkable artistry distinguish the nearly two dozen pieces of well-provenanced Ancient Greek ceramics. Highlights include an Attic black-figure tripod pyxis (ex Christie’s) with iconography of a sphinx and multiple animal and human images, $9,000-$12,000; and a Magna Graecia (Apulian region of southern Italy) gnathian situla with decoration attributed to the Toledo Painter. Also ex Christie’s, the situla is estimated at $15,000-$20,000. A Greek bronze Chalcidian helmet, circa 5th to 4th century BCE, is a handsome survivor of hammered bronze. Previously auctioned at Sotheby’s London (1991), it will reappear in Artemis Gallery’s sale with a $25,000-$35,000 estimate.
An extensive grouping of Roman antiquities and art is led by a superb 1st-3rd century CE marble statue of a nude Cupid (Eros). Skillfully carved to suggest human vitality, with realistic pectoral musculature and a well-delineated abdominal area, it stands 19.75 inches on its included custom stand. The sculpture was held in the collection of Lord McAlpine before joining a private collection in Scottsdale, Arizona. Estimate: $75,000-$100,000
Since the first season of Game of Thrones, Viking jewelry and artifacts have skyrocketed in popularity. Artemis Gallery has distinguished itself as the prime source for authentic Nordic pieces. In their upcoming sale, Artemis will offer a sizable array that includes a 140.5-gram gilded-silver animal-head brooch, $8,000-$12,000; a 153.1-gram silver snake bracelet, $5,000-$7,000; and an important silver and gold torque necklace, $6,000-$9,000. Jewelry is also an important component of the Near Eastern selection, with a rare 18K gold Scythian bracelet expected to reach $14,000-$21,000.
Asian treasures reveal a great variety of cultural influences and artistic styles, from a life-size Gandharan grey schist head of the goddess Hariti, $10,000-$15,000; to a wonderful Chinese Han Dynasty green-glazed terracotta dog, $11,000-$15,000. A top prize is a 9th-century CE grey granite stele with the goddess Devi carved in relief. This heavy, 34-inch-high artwork was sold at Christie’s Amsterdam in 2005 and, prior to 1970, was in a European private collection. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000.
Leading a strong lineup of Pre-Columbian art is a rare and important Olmec three-dimensional terracotta baby, its head realistically molded to reflect the cultural practice of skull-shaping. Originating in the region of southern Mexico/Guatemala, it measures 7 inches by 10.25 inches and is estimated at $15,000-$25,000. Other Pre-Columbian highlights include an Olmec jade maskette, $6,000-$9,000; and a Jalisco pottery figure of a standing female in the Ameca-Etzatlan style, $8,000-$12,000. Also worthy of special mention are an Aztec quartz eagle labret (decorative plug to adorn a lower-lip piercing), ex Deere family collection, $25,000-$37,000; a Mayan Jaina terracotta seated lord, $12,000-$15,000; and several superior-quality translated Mayan cylinders.
Beautiful Russian icons are included, among them an 18th-century painted wood iconostasis with 15 panels and bronze oklads, $25,000-$30,000; and a huge 19th-century Russian calendar icon, ex Lilly and Francis Robicsek collection, $50,000-$75,000. Also from the Robicsek collection, a pair of museum-exhibited 19th-century Russian royal door panels are expected to close at $50,000-$75,000.
The new Fine Art division will make its debut with four outstanding Sekino Jun’ichiro (Japanese, 1915-1988) woodblock artist’s proofs from the 1960s. Each carries a reasonable high estimate of $1,200. Also poised for success are two Lockwood “Woody” Dennis (American, 1937-2012) oil-on-canvas paintings. Both his “Longbeach House (Gill),” created in 1994, and his 1998 depiction of a street in San Francisco’s Twin Peaks district carry individual estimates of $3,000-$4,000.
Artemis Gallery is known for its uncompromising policy protecting the buyer. Each item the company sells is guaranteed to be authentic, as described in the auction catalog, and 100% legal to purchase, own and/or resell. A COA accompanies all lots in their sales, year round.