Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Picture of the Month July 2010

Art Object of the Month

Veracruz deer hacha, stone AD 300 - 1200
"Hachas were believed to be axe-heads, hence the name (the Spanish word for 'axe'). They are probably related to the Mesoamerican ballgame. The great majority have been found in Veracruz, on the Gulf Coast of Mexico.
Most hachas, like this example, represent human heads, The skulls and heads of animals, such as jaguars, birds, bats, deer and monkeys, are also depicted.
Based on ceramic figurines and stone carvings, some authors have proposed that they were used attached to yugos (yokes). Others suggest that some of the hachas could have served as ball court markers. Their actual use is not yet clear, but they are often associated with yugos in burials.
The ballgame originated probably in the Gulf Coast or in the Caribbean region. Various sixteenth-century Spanish chroniclers described the game and the ballcourts. It was played with a solid rubber ball which could weigh up to three kilos. The ball was hit mainly with the hip or buttock, although there were other variants of the game. The game was banned by Spanish priests because of its 'pagan' connotations and was almost eradicated, but still survives today in some parts of Mexico." G.W. van Bussel, P.L.F. van Dongen and T.J.J. Leyenaar, The Mesoamerican ballgame (Leiden, Rijksmusuem voor Volkenkunde, 1991)

A Word from John Buxton July 2010

This has been a very crazy three months that made it impossible for me to publish my monthly Newsletter. We have now been through 3 Roadshows in San Diego California, Billings Montana, and finally this past weekend Miami Beach. I will have about ten days at home before leaving for Biloxi and the Gulf Coast. I have given my thoughts on the auctions.. no big surprises except for Skinner's strong showing on medium level American Indian most of which had realistic reserves. Unless you are buying the very best at the top of the food chain, it is a buyers market and the material better be priced right. Having said that there are some great buys for art that has been forced on the market by the tough economic times.

We are doing a great may appraisals and authentications, which has created an opportunity to see things that might not have surfaced. As a consequence the gallery has been able to offer some very nice things this summer to our clients.

I wish we had optimistic news for the immediate future in the art world, but the data is just not there to support a bullish approach at this time. So hunker down and hope our government can do something to inspire confidence in the markets. If you are buyer, it is a great time to be in the market buying right at all levels.