Published: April 28, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Artemis Gallery
LOUISVILLE, COLO. – “It was a phenomenal sale total, I was blown away,” said Teresa Dodge, owner and executive director of Artemis Gallery, speaking about the firm’s April 10 sale of 428 lots of antiquities. “It surpassed our expectations, we were delighted by bidder interest,” she added.
The auction featured select items from a lifetime collection of Oceania, plus classical antiquities, ancient and ethnographic art from cultures around the globe.
The sale ran on LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable, but saw a dramatic increase in telephone and in-house absentee bids. Dodge said the firm was running about two or three sales every month before the pandemic, but they have since increased their sale frequency to every week – and new clients are finding them.
“I’m seeing new bidders come in that have never shopped with us before,” Teresa Dodge said. “That has to be directly related to the fact that people are home. They might not have been interested, but they thought ‘let’s just look and check it out.'”
It is hard not to be impressed by something within an Artemis Gallery catalog, and that the firm stands behind the authenticity and legality of every object they sell lays any doubt to rest.
The auction was led by a Roman Imperial period, circa Third Century CE marble head of a bearded male that sold for $24,900. It was carved from white marble during the era of Emperor Alexander Severus and measures 11½ inches high on stand. The piece had been published in The Muse’s Song: Selections of Ancient Art, Fortuna Fine Arts, Ltd., 2008, and exhibited at a number of international fairs.
Artemis gallery founder and executive director Bob Dodge pointed to two lots that exemplified the connoisseurship in the auction. Selling for $22,410 was a plaster (ground gypsum) mummy mask depicting a female visage, Ptolemaic to Romano Egyptian, circa Third Century BCE to First Century CE.
Bob Dodge said, “That piece is so exquisite, so sensitive and so life-like. It’s the finest example I have had the pleasure of handling. It’s truly breathtaking.”
It sold to a New York collector and the buyer told Dodge it was now one of the highlights of his collection. The work had provenance from the estate of the late Parker B. Poe, bequeathed to the Thomasville Center for the Arts, Thomasville, Ga., and sold to benefit its arts funds. Prior to that it was handled by New York dealer Mathias Komor, active between 1935 and 1978.
The other lot pointed out by Dodge was a seated pre-Columbian Olmec pottery baby, 10 inches high, circa Tenth to Sixth Century BCE, that sold for $18,675. The example was missing a leg and had break lines across the chest, but bidders still found it very desirable. Dodge said had it been in perfect condition, it would have been worth $100,000. “The slip, the expression, they were good,” Dodge said. “This is 3,000 years old, still with the original pigment.”
Bob Dodge said it sold to a collector in Massachusetts and the moment he got it, he wrote back, “Breathtaking.”
The baby came from the collection of Alfred Stendahl, a second-generation dealer who owned the Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles, until he passed away in 2010. Teresa Dodge said the piece had been sitting with some things in the family’s garage.
The firm said they have seen building interest in Viking material. “It continues to be strong for us,” Teresa Dodge, said. “We’re doing a lot of pendants, bowls and rings. As a category, it’s doing very well, lots of bidder interest.”
The category was led by a silver filigree pendant, circa late Ninth to mid-Tenth Century CE, that sold for $4,669. It was made from sheet silver, 96 percent pure, in a woven, abstract zoomorphic form with a human-like face at the top, his flowing beard joining with the granulated decorations on the chest. Behind at $3,113 was a Ninth to Eleventh Century CE silver bowl most likely deposited in a Viking hoard. The gallery said the 7-1/8-inch-diameter bowl would not originally have been made by Vikings, but its surface had been modified to include punched repeating triangles with three dots inside of them.
The firm’s next sale is April 30. For additional information, https://www.artemisgallery.com or 720-890-7700.
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