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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Bonhams Dubai Orientalist Sale

A stunning selection of items that were created in the first flush of Europe’s love affair with Arabia, made by European artists who lost their hearts to the Orient, will return to Dubai on May 11th at Bonhams first sale of Oriental Art.

orientalist.jpgThe sale features pictures and other works of art that captivated Europe and which created a mindset among Europeans which perceived the Arab world as a beautiful, romantic, exotic and dangerously unknown. These seminal works now return to the world that inspired them as Bonhams believes a newly mobile Arab clientele will find them fascinating time capsules, painted love letters to the Orient and Arabia.

The market for Orientalist and Middle Eastern pictures and works of art has never been stronger. With its record breaking $12 million auction in Dubai earlier, Bonhams has established powerful credentials in this area.

The ‘Arts of the Islamic World’ will be impressive showcase of Islamic and Middle Eastern inspired paintings and works of art of the highest quality. The sale will include paintings, sculpture, ceramics and glass, decorative arts, silver and antique arms and armour.

Bonhams are delighted to be hosting the private view and pre-sale reception in conjunction with The Children’s Hope Foundation, the prominent UAE children’s charity and Dresdner Bank.

Giles Peppiatt, Director of Orientalist Art at Bonhams, says: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy some of the most outstanding works made of the Orient by the first European artists to explore the region, so besides the intrinsic artistic value of the works themselves there is also the value of the history and provenance that goes hand in hand with the first of anything.”

An image that encapsulates this feeling of excitement aroused by the exotic was painted by one of Queen Victoria’s favourite artists, Rudolph Swoboda, who at the Queen behest painted all her Indian servants. Today these images hang in her holiday home, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. His Royal patron gave Swoboda the encouragement he needed to return again to the subject of the Orient again and again.

The Carpet Seller by Rudolph Swoboda (II) (Austrian, 1859-1914), signed, inscribed and dated ‘Rudolph Swoboda.Cairo.85’, an oil on canvas, it is estimated to sell for $500,000-700,000.

Another artist smitten by the Orient was Edwin Lord Weeks, an American, (1849-1903) whose painting, The chess players signed and dated ‘E.L Weeks. 1879.’ An oil on canvas is expected to make $400,000-600,000.

Embodying all of the exotic sensuousness which so appealed to the new arrivals in Arabia, is an impressive French parcel-gilt and polychrome patina white metal life-size figure of an orientalist lady. It is attributed to Gaston Veuvenot Leroux (1854-1942). This charming beauty stands leaning against an Arabian ruin, surmounted by a vase decorated with arabesques and inscriptions, 80cm wide, 60cm deep, 177cm high (31″ wide, 23.5″ deep, 69.5″ high). It is estimated to attract bids in the region of $180,000-280,000.

An image that caused a stir when it was exhibited in London at the Royal Academy in 1867, is A Street in Jerusalem by William J. Webb (Webbe) (British, active 1853-1878). It is signed with monogram and dated ‘1867’ (lower left), an oil on canvas it is estimated $150,000-200,000.