Christie’s Dubai Auction of International Modern and Contemporary Art Realizes $6.7 Million

Christie’s auction of International Modern and Contemporary Art in Dubai realised $6,736,475 / AED 24,722,863 / €4,526,911, and was 72% sold by lot and 74% sold by value. The top lot of the sale was “Remembrance and Gratitude”, a large and spectacular diptych by Ahmed Moustafa (b.1943), which sold for $662,500 / AED 2,431,375 / €445,200 – a world auction record for a modern work of art by an Arab artist. The buyer breakdown (by lot) was 63% Middle East (including Iran), 21% Europe, 12% Americas and 4% Asia.

William Lawrie, Head of Sale, International Modern and Contemporary Art: “This evening Ahmed Moustafa broke his own world record for a modern Arab work of art sold at auction, established here at Christie’s in Dubai in October 2007, with his exceptional diptych “Remembrance and Gratitude”. The auction saw a return of confidence with solid and realistic results throughout, and healthy prices for works by many of the most established artists in the field. The sale total is 50% higher than our last auction in April, and we also saw record prices for artists including Nja Mahdaoui, Burhan Dogancay, Afshin Pirhashemi and Ayman Baalbaki.”

Michael Jeha, Managing Director, Christie’s Middle East: “Christie’s auctions in Dubai are the international benchmark for the Middle Eastern art market. For this sale we consigned works from as far afield as California, Scandanavia and France, and welcomed bidders from the Middle East region, as well as from Europe, Asia and America. Despite the global economic troubles of the last year, the appetite for art in the Middle East continues to grow, as does the international appreciation for Middle Eastern art.”

Top 5 lots of the auction:

• Remembrance and Gratitude”, a large and spectacular diptych by Ahmed Moustafa (b.1943), the celebrated Egyptian artist, sold for $662,500 / AED 2,431,375 / €445,200 – a world auction record for a modern work of art by an Arab artist (estimate: $600,000 to $800,000). The record before this evening’s auction had been held by another of Moustafa’s works; “Qu’Aranic Polyptych of Nine Panels”, 1995, which sold at Christie’s Dubai in October 2007 for $657,000 / AED 2,411,190.

• “Untitled” (Yellow Heads), 1979, by Tyeb Mehta (Indian, 1925-2009) sold for $578,500 / AED 2,123,095 / €388,752 (estimate: $500,000 to $700,000). This was the top lot in a section of 10 Indian and Pakistani works of art which sold for a total of £1,003,750 / AED 3,683,763 / €674,520.

• “Rift”, 1977, by Burhan Dogancay (Turkish, b.1929), an exceptional and early work from the artist’s celebrated Ribbons series, realised $242,500 / AED 889,975 / €162,960 (estimate: $200,000 to $250,000). This was the top lot in a section of 14 Turkish works of art which realised a total of $862,750 / AED 3,166,293 / €579,768.

• “Kharjee Spirit”, 1979, 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 – sold for $218,500 / AED801,895 / €146,832 (estimate: $180,000 to $250,000).

• “Untitled” by Maqbool Fida Husain (Indian, b.1915) sold for $218,500/ AED 801,895 / €146,832 (estimate: $150,000 to $200,000).

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