Christie’s to Auction Modern and Contemporary Art in Dubai

Christie’s, the world’s leading arts business, announce their seventh auction of International Modern and Contemporary Art in Dubai which will take place on Tuesday 27 October 2009. The sale will bring together and offer to the international art market an important selection of pictures and sculptures from the Middle East region including impressive examples of Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian and Saudi Arabian art. These works will be complimented by a very strong group of Indian, Pakistani and Iranian art, and the most important selection of Turkish art ever offered at auction in the Middle East.

The auction will take place at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel and will present 167 exceptional paintings and sculptures. It is expected to realize US$8 million to US$11 million with individual estimates ranging from $10,000 to $800,000.

Ahmed Moustaf
Ahmed Moustafa, Rembrance and Gratitude. Estimate: $600,000-800,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2009

The top lot is Remembrance and Gratitude, a large diptych by Ahmed Moustafa, the celebrated Egyptian artist who holds the world record price for any modern Arabian work of art sold at auction (estimate: $600,000 to $800,000) (illustrated above).

On Wednesday 28 October, Christie’s will present an auction of Jewels and Watches, which will include a diverse selection of diamonds, rare stones, natural pearls, antique Indian jewels, jewelry from the world’s leading contemporary designers and a strong selection of collectible watches.

Michael Jeha, Managing Director, Christie’s Middle East: “Christie’s auctions in Dubai have become an established and celebrated bi-annual cultural event both for the Middle East region, and for Christie’s international sales calendar. We are continuing to invest in the region as we see significant growth in the number of collectors who are engaging at these auctions at every level of the market. There is also an increasingly established international demand for the category, many of whom travel to Dubai or use Christie’s LIVE to bid online at the sales from wherever they are in the world. 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.”

William Lawrie, International Modern and Contemporary Art specialist and head of sale: “Dubai has proved to be the perfect centre from which to bring together works of art from the surrounding region, Iran, Turkey, India and Pakistan, and offer them to international collectors from all around the world. For the auction in October, we will offer the most diverse selection of art to date, celebrating the art and culture of the UAE, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, North Africa, India, Pakistan, and also including the most impressive selection of Turkish art seen to date at auction in the Middle East. We look forward to welcoming both new and established clients to the exhibition and auction in October, and to presenting an unrivalled selection of art from the greater region.”

Raj Sehgal, Branch Manager, Credit Suisse Dubai: “Credit Suisse considers the Middle East as one of its most important growth markets, having built its knowledge and understanding of the region over four decades. Through its collaboration with Christie’s, Credit Suisse brings to clients, investors and collectors in the Middle East, an opportunity to engage in a prestigious forum dealing in high value art. The artworks on offer are impressive examples of the region’s cultural variety.”

Arab and Iranian Art
A leading highlight of the auction is Remembrance and Gratitude, a large and spectacular diptych by Ahmed Moustafa (b.1943), the celebrated Egyptian artist who holds the world record price for any modern Arabian work of art sold at auction. It is expected to realize $600,000 to $800,000. Moustafa initially trained in the neo-classical European style taking great inspiration from the Renaissance masters, before devoting his work to compositions inspired by texts from the Qur’an. The diptych is one of his most complex and profound works reflecting on the remarkable Qur’anic verse in which man is urged to engage in a reciprocal encounter with God.

An untitled landscape by Fateh Moudarres (Syrian, 1922-1999) is the largest work by the artist ever to appear at auction, measuring over 3 meters long. It was commissioned as a backdrop to the Damascus International Fair in 1970 and is expected to realize $180,000 to $250,000. Another work by the artist to be offered at this auction is Untitled which depicts a recurrent theme in the artist’s work of a faceless crowd, representing a powerless mass stripped of identity (estimate: $140,000 to $160,000). Kharjee Spirit, 1979, is a striking work by Charles Hossein Zenderoudi (Iranian, b.1937), a founder of the Saqqa-khaneh school – the most influential artistic movement of 20th Century Iran. It is expected to realize $180,000 to $250,000. Other leading highlights of Iranian art include Tar Jar, 2006, by Farhad Moshiri (Iranian, b.1963) (estimate: $150,000 to $200,000) and The Wall and the Heech by Parviz Tanavoli (Iranian, b. 1937) which is expected to realize $140,000 to $180,000.

Dream 12 by Safwan Dahoul (Syrian, b.1961), who is greatly influenced by Northern European Gothic and Renaissance art, carries an estimate of $120,000 to $180,000. Le Carnaval Vénitien is the largest and most impressive work by Abdallah Benanteur (Algerian, b.1931) to appear at auction. It is expected to realize $100,000 to $150,000. Monumental, 1985, by Paul Guiragossian (Lebanese, 1926-1993), depicts a group of women which was a recurrent theme in his later works (estimate: $90,000 to $120,000). Swordsman by Jazeh Tabatabei (Iranian, 1931-2008) is a striking sculpture executed in the 1960s. Tabatabei was one of the first generation of modern Iranian artists and the present work was formed from scrap metal from heavy machinery, addressing a technological aesthetic with a humorous slant (estimate: $30,000 to $40,000). King’s Harem by Halim Al-Karim (Iraqi, b.1963), an Iraqi artist who served in the first Gulf War and spent three years hiding in the desert, is expected to realize $25,000 to $35,000.

In April 2009, Christie’s offered Saudi Arabian art at international auction for the first time. Following the success of the sale, the auction in October 2009 will offer 5 works of modern and contemporary Saudi Arabian art including Untitled by Abdulaziz Ashour (Saudi Arabian, b. 1962) which is expected to realize $9,000 to $12,000; Interlocution of Nature by Youssef Ahmad Jaha (Saudi Arabian, b.1953) (estimate: $8,000 to $10,000); and Untitled by Al-Taher Sabban (Saudi Arabian, b.19??).

Turkish Art
Turkish art was offered at Christie’s in Dubai for the first time in October 2008 and its market and international appreciation has continued to grow since. In October 2009, the auction will offer the most impressive selection of modern and contemporary Turkish art to date including 22 works of the highest quality. Submarine and Battleship, 1997, by Omer Uluc (Turkish, b.1931) is expected to realize $300,000 to $400,000. For many years Uluc divided his time between Paris and his studio in Istanbul which overlooked the Bosphorus where the regular traffic of ships and submarines inspired him to paint a series of works depicting the vessels. The present example is one of the largest of the series painted by the artist since the mid 1980s. The Red Doves is one of the most impressive works painted by Ferruh Basaga (Turkish, b.1914) (estimate: $200,000 to $250,000). Depicting a pair of doves, symbolizing piece, the work displays the artist’s signature geometric abstract style. Rift, 1977, by Burhan Dogancay (Turkish, b.1929) is an exceptional and early work from the artist’s celebrated Ribbons series. It carries an estimate of $200,000 to $250,000. Further highlights of Turkish art to be offered at the auction include Untitled, 2008, by Adnam Coker (Turkish, b.1927) (estimate: $150,000 to $200,000) and Untitled, 1957, by Erol Akyavas (Turkish, 1932-1999) (estimate: $100,000 to $150,000).

Indian and Pakistani Art
The auction will offer a significant selection of 15 modern and contemporary Indian and Pakistani works of art, led by White Figure, yellow heads on a white background by Tyeb Mehta (Indian, 1925-2009) which is expected to realize $500,000 to $700,000. Painted in 1979, this important work represents a turning point in the artist’s career and illustrates the growing complexity of his compositions at this formative period of his career. Vision XIV, a signature work by Maqbool Fida Husain (Indian, b.1915), is inspired by verses from the Holy Qur’an where victory is granted to believers so that they may follow and be inspired by God’s good, while their past misdeeds are forgiven (estimate: $350,000 to $500,000). Six elements by Syed Haider Raza (Indian, b.1922) is offered for sale for the first time having been acquired directly from the artist’s studio by the present owner in 1979 (estimate: $150,000 to $200,000). Further highlights include Four Women by Maqbool Fida Husain (Indian, b.1915) (estimate: $150,000 to $200,000) and By The Heaven of the Returning Rain, a neon sign by Shezad Dawood (British/Pakistani, b. 1974) which engages in a critical yet playful investigation of cultural identity (estimate: $15,000 to $20,000).