Wednesday 5 June 2013

More Hollywood "Investment Quality Art" at Dodge's

Bob Dodge's Antiquities Saleroom (aka Artemis Gallery) is conducting an antiquities sale made up of objects from "two premier collections of art and artifacts from ancient civilizations", June 13-14 2013. 
Many of the 400 lots [...] come from the meticulously documented, investment-grade collections of two Hollywood insiders – an Emmy Award-winning executive producer/writer, and a producer/director who specializes in movie trailers. 
The flogging off of other parts of these collections in February were considered "highly successful". Here's the catalogue of the first sale. For the dealer, the highlight of the first sale is Lot 7 an "Egyptian Seal Mold of King Tutankhamun", though whether it is actually a mould "from Tut’s royal workshop" or an impression seems to me rather debatable, if it for the production of oval objects, where is its fourth side? No parallels of the actual products of such workshops are cited in the catalogue. I suppose it makes more money to say it is from a "royal workshop" rather than some kid was playing in the mud with some faience amulets his mum had. Hype, hype:
In the 25 years I’ve been in this business, this is the first time I’ve seen a genuine King Tut artifact come to auction. It’s[...] insanely rare,” Dodge said. 
[it's a lump of burnt mud]. No provenance is given either: 
The mold comes directly from the family of the late Philip Mitry, who was an antiquities dealer in Cairo during the 1950s. At that time, the sale of Egyptian antiquities was legal and, in fact, state sponsored. When Mitry moved to the United States in the 1950s, he brought his massive collection with him. The King Tut mold, which became part of Mitry’s collection in 1953, will be auctioned with documentation from Mitry’s family and a lifetime certificate of authenticity from Antiquities Saleroom. 
The usual other stuff, more complete Greek helmets (they must have been very careless, leaving them lying around all over Europe) and the usual pottery stuff. Metal detected chariot fittings lot 89 ("Provenance: Ex-Prominent New York City, NY Gallery" according to the catalogue, "It (sic) came from a New York City dealer who obtained them from a private collection on the East Coast.” according to Art Daily - neither is adequate).
The next portion of the sale is devoted to selections from the “Hollywood” Pre-Columbian art collections mentioned above, with additional choice consignments. Virtually every Pre-Columbian culture is represented, in silver, copper, gold, stone, pottery, textiles and wood. 
All of it with cast-iron provenances excluding any dodginess? Well, check it out for yourself if you have the stomach for it (catalogue here).

"A prominent politician’s collection of West Mexico pottery is also featured in the sale". That's prominent West Mexican politician, or prominent US politician? I assume Mr Dodge has the export licences for the items already made ready to go to the prospective buyers. He does not say so. And why can we not learn the name of all these "prominent" people who accumulated this stuff so astutely? Are they ashamed now of what they did and too embarrassed to reveal themselves?  Frankly, if I had the "eye" of one of those buyers of "Roman" items, I'd be embarrassed too.

Art, "King Tut royal seal mold among ancient artifacts in Antiquities Saleroom's June 13-14 auction", June 5th 2013.

Note: the provenance of the "Seymchan Meteorite, Pallasite Class" (lot 1), must be wrong. No pallasite was "found in Russia, 1967", such material only came to light with further discoveries on the Seymchan dropspot in 2004 by  Dmitri Kachalin. Is there any documentation of proper export from Russia?

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