Art And Culture

Tehran Christie’s-Style Auction Fetches $6.4m

People Desk
Tehran Christie’s-Style Auction Fetches $6.4m
Tehran Christie’s-Style Auction Fetches $6.4m

The 4th round of the first Christie’s-style ‘Tehran Auction’ closed on Friday (May 29), fetching a record-breaking $6.4 million (210 billion rials), marking a historic moment in the history of Persian fine arts, and a boost to Iran’s economics of art.

A total of 126 works including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and calligraphies by 109 artists came under the hammer. Reza Kianian, well-known actor and photographer conducted the auction. The  auction sales exceeded last year’s total of $4 million (13.25 billion rials), much to the surprise of the crowd as well as the host; however the immense reception and the enthusiasm at the venue was not unusual for those who had followed the event close up through its first three editions.

The top bids were two works by legendary Iranian artist Sohrab Sepehri, which sold for $850,000 and $515,000 (28 and 17 billion rials) respectively. A painting by the abstract expressionist Manouchehr Yektayi sold for $288,000 (9.5 billion rials) and one by Bahman Mohasses for $218,000 (7.2 billion rials).

Other works by Aydin Aghdashloo, Mohammad Ghaffari (Kamal-ol-Molk), Parviz Tanavoli, Ali Akbar Sadeghi, and Hossein Zenderoudi fetched the next highest bids.

The sales amount was “outstanding,” setting a new national record and breaking those in regional countries, said event organizer and former director of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art Dr. Alireza Sami-Azar, at a press conference.

  Classic Works

Along with contemporary art, there were 12 classic works from the Qajar Era. Prominent artist Hossein Pakdel, honorary auctioneer of the classic section, said he was “stunned by the massive reception and enthusiasm of the attendees” in his first auctioneering experience.

The opening bids for classic works were set at a comparatively lower rate since they are anticipated to rise exponentially in the coming years, explained Pakdel.

“All 12 pieces have permits from Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO). A second permit is needed for overseas trade,” he clarified. “The market of classic works needs time to be explored.”

Among the 800 gallery owners, art lovers, investors, and state officials who attended the event were deputy head of ICHHTO Seyed Mohammad Beheshti, Chairman of Tehran City Council Ahmad Masjed Jamei, socio-cultural deputy at the High Council of Free Trade Zones secretariat Mohammad-Ali Zam, renowned actor Bahram Radan, and popular football player and Coach Ali Daei.

“We have a cultural mission and that is to introduce our talented artists on a global spectrum; I certainly hope this event will inspire other organizations given that economic growth is ensured also by cultural growth,” Sami-Azar stressed.

“We had no idea if the auction, which opened on May 26, would be successful in Iran. We were not sure whether participants in auctions around Europe, the UAE, and the US would bid for artworks from Iran, but the fervor and passion from the public followed us through four successful years to where we are now,” said Kianian.

Beheshti said people are becoming familiar with and eager to participate in art auctions and hailed the “triumphant” event.

“I don’t understand the negative attitude towards such events particularly since they encourage local artists. Given the number of art galleries in Tehran which have doubled in the past few years, such auctions help the art market to prosper, and persuade people to make cultural investments,” Kianian noted.