Art And Culture

Mideast Art Brings $22m at Sotheby’s

Mideast Art Brings $22m at Sotheby’sMideast Art Brings $22m at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s Orientalist and Middle Eastern Week - a unique group of five fascinating sales, ranging from the contemporary to the ancient, celebrating the history of Middle Eastern art - realized a combined total of $22.7 million exceeding pre-sale expectations (estimated $14.3–$20.5 million). Around 607 lots sold across the week, with 70% exceeding their pre-sale estimates.

Eight auction records were achieved for artists including Egyptian sculptor Mahmoud Mokhtar, Iranian artist Leyly Matine Daftary and Austrian painter Charles Wilda.

Edward Gibbs, Sotheby’s Middle East and India Chairman, said: “Building on last year’s sale series, we saw many more bidders from the MENA region as well as from elsewhere around the world. Participants from as many as 43 countries propelled the majority of lots beyond their high estimate and a total of 80% of the lots offered across the sales sold,” reported.

The first-ever single-owner Modern and Contemporary Iranian sale, the collection of a major Iranian artist and curator, Fereydoun Ave, fetched $2.61 million (est. $1.5-2 million). Bringing together a treasure-trove of artworks from across continents and cultures, the sale was led by a watercolor by American artist Cy Twombly, alongside standout lots by pre-eminent modernist Iranian artists Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, Monir Farmanfarmaian and Farhad Moshiri.

Other world records for artists at auction included Iranian artists Leyly Matine Daftary, Maliheh Afnan and Taher Pour Heidari, Jordanian artist Mona Saudi and Iraqi artist Zeid Saleh.

Ashkan Baghestani, Sotheby’s Contemporary Arab and Iranian Art specialist and head of sales, said: “This week, we broke new ground for the Middle Eastern art market in London.

The single-owner sale of the impressive library of distinguished Iraqi architect Mohamed Saleh Makiya, who died last year aged 101, and his wife Margaret attracted strong bidding to soar more than six times over the pre-sale estimate to bring $3.84 million (est. $571,029-$855,821).

The auction revealed a collection of rare books and works on paper that embraces the culture of the Middle East and the wider Islamic world, and its connections with Europe. Led by The Levant, a collection of 15 volumes on Palestine, the Holy Land, Syria and Lebanon, sold for $613,489 (est. $1,443-$2,887).