Christie’s International Modern and Contemporary Art in Dubai

DUBAI – Christie’s, have announced their fifth auction of International Modern and Contemporary Art in Dubai which will take place on 30 October 2008 and which will offer the strongest and most important selection of works to date in the region. The auction will present 157 exceptional paintings and sculptures from the leading artists of the UAE, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria, Turkey, Europe and the United States. The auction will take place at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel and is expected to realise US$12 million to US$18 million.

Michael Jeha, Managing Director, Christie’s Middle East: “Christie’s auctions of ‘International Modern and Contemporary Art’ and ‘Jewels and Watches’ in April 2008 realised over $40 million and saw 6 works sell for over US$1 million; the global interest in the Middle Eastern art market is attracting everincreasing numbers of international collectors and seeing prices move to new levels. Dubai is an established international sales centre for Christie’s and we are excited to offer this October the most impressive and valuable auctions to be seen to date in the Middle East. We are delighted to continue our sponsoring partnership with Credit Suisse, one of the leading global providers of financial products and services in Private Banking, Investment Banking, and Asset Management.”

A leading highlight of the auction is Triptych (La passion avec croix, ame et bagages, and triangle bigames), a huge and spectacular triptych by the Algerian artist Rachid Koraichi (b.1947) whose work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2001 and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2006 illustrated above. Painted in 1985 and 1986, this masterpiece represents the most important work by the artist to be offered at auction and is expected to realise US$400,000 to $600,000 / AED 1,500,000 to 2,000,000.

The auction will also offer two of the most important works by Fateh Moudarres (Syrian, 1922-1999) to appear on the open market. Untitled is an extraordinary picture which is offered from the Collection of Adonis, the celebrated Syrian-Lebanese poet and a pioneer of modern Arabic literature in whose house the work was painted (estimate: US$150,000 to $200,000 / UAE 560,000 to 740,000). Executed in 1967, shortly after the end of the Arab-Israeli war, this work dates to a watershed period in the artist’s career during which his work began to take on political themes. Achtar, 1983, represents the Assyrian mother goddess and is painted on a grand scale measuring 180 x 140 cm. It is expected to realise US$120,000 to $160,000 / UAE 450,000 to 590,000.

The auction will offer the strongest selection of Iranian masterpieces of the Saqqa-Khaneh School ever seen on the international marketplace. During the 1960s in Iran, a group of artists were drawn together to form the country’s first contemporary art movement. Drawing influence from traditional and historic imagery and symbols and incorporating them into their work, the movement represents the most formulative period for 20th Century Iranian art and since the Saqqa-Khaneh Retrospective at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in 1977, no comprehensive exhibition of the work has ever been presented to the public. Christie’s will offer one of the most impressive groupings ever seen outside Iran, including Untitled, 1962, by Faramarz Pilaram (Iranian, 1937-1982) (estimate: US$350,000 to $500,000 / AED 1,300,000 to 1,800,000) and Untitled by Charles Hossein Zenderoudi (Iranian, b. 1937) (estimate: US$300,000-$500,000 / AED 1,200,000-1,800,000) both of which were exhibited at the Retrospective of 1977.

At the auction of International Modern and Contemporary Art on 20 April in Dubai, Parviz Tanavoli’s sculpture The Wall (Oh Persepolis), 1975, sold for $2,841,000 / AED 10,426,470, establishing a world record price for any work by a modern Iranian artist sold at auction. One of the pioneer members of the Saqqa-Khaneh school, Tanavoli represented Iran at the Venice Biennale in 1958 and his work is in high demand from international collectors. The auction on 30 October will offer the artist’s Poet in Love, a sculpture in bronze almost 3 meters tall which is expecteexpected to realise US$400,000-600,000 / AED 1,500,000-2,200,000.

Happy is a pulsating and vibrant light sculpture by Tim Noble & Sue Webster (British, b.1966 & b.1967) (estimate: US$250,000 to $350,000 / AED 920,000 to 1,300,000). An artistic reflection on the influence of consumer culture on contemporary life, the present work was executed in 1999 and is lit by 298 light bulbs. Earlier this year, the British artists displayed ‘Electric Fountain’, an illuminated water feature, at the Plaza outside the Rockefeller Centre in New York, which has also recently been the site of special exhibitions of works by Jeff Koons and Anish Kapoor.

Heading the Egyptian works in the sale is Umm Kolthoum, 2003, by sculptor Adam Henein (Egyptian, b. 1929) whose work was exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum in New York in 1999-2000 (estimate: US$100,000 to $150,000 / AED 370,0000 to 550,000). Symphony in Blue, 1994, by Omar El-Nagdi (Egyptian, b. 1931) is a further highlight and is expected to realise US$80,000 to $120,000 / AED 300,000 to 400,000.

For the first time, Christie’s will present a section dedicated to Modern and Contemporary Turkish art. In total, 15 works will be offered in the auction, including On the Way to Karbala, 1989, by Erol Akyavas (Turkish, 1932-1999) (estimate: US$120,000-180,000 / AED 450,000-660,000); A Little Night Music II, 1982, by Burhan Do?ançay (Turkish, b. 1929) (estimate: US$100,000-150,000 / AED 370,000-550,000); and Untitled by Orhon Mubin (Turkish, 1924-1981) which is expected to realise US$60,000-80,000 / AED 230,000-290,000.

Lebanese highlights in the auction include Le Grande Marché by Paul Guiragossian (Lebanese, 1927-1993) (estimate: US$180,000 to $250,000 / AED 670,000 to 920,000) and La Cathedrale, 1978, by Chafic Abboud (Lebanese 1926-2004) (estimate: US$130,000-$180,000 / AED 480,000-660,000). Nine Faces, 2000, by leading Iraqi contemporary artist Ismael Fattah (Iraqi, 1934-2004) is expected to realise US$100,000 to $150,000 / AED 370,000-550,000.

Elsewhere in the sale, highlights include Untitled (from the Impressionist Collection), 1990, by Emirati artist Abdul Qader Al-Rais (Emirati, b. 1951) (estimate: US$120,000-$180,000 / AED 450,000-660,000); Studio, 1960, by Arnaldo Pomodoro (Italian, b. 1926) (estimate: US$30,000-$40,000); Christo’s (American, b. 1935) Abu Dhabi Mastaba (Project for the United Arab Emirates), 1970, which depicts the artist’s planned installation of 2 million stacked oil barrels (estimate: $30,000-$40,000); and Shameless, 1977, by Shirin Neshat (Iranian, b.
1957) (estimate: $80,000-$120,000).