Art And Culture

Persian Works Galore in Christie’s Sale of Modern and Contemporary Art

The auction presented a collection of 19 works titled ‘Beyond the Fountain: Pioneers of Saqqakhaneh’ by the key pioneering Iranian artists
‘2 Flamingos’ by Farhad Moshiri (L), ‘Persepolis’ by Parviz Tanavoli (C) and ‘Composition 3’ by Faramarz Pilaram‘2 Flamingos’ by Farhad Moshiri (L), ‘Persepolis’ by Parviz Tanavoli (C) and ‘Composition 3’ by Faramarz Pilaram

The 21st Christie’s Dubai, part of Christie’s 250th anniversary celebrations, was held in Dubai on Tuesday, October 18, where 39 Iranian artworks out of the 41 auctioned pieces were sold.

The arts auction titled ‘Modern and Contemporary Art’ presented in all 113 works by Iranian, Arab and Turkish artists and reached the total sale of $6.365 million with 11 works by Iranian artists going under the hammer for over $100,000, Honaronline reported.

The highest bid went to a painting by the Lebanese artist Shafic Abboud (1926-2004) which sold for $391,500.

A painting by the Iranian artist Hussein Zenderoudi had the second highest bid and was bought for $307,500 which was much higher than its original estimate at $120,000-180,000.

The 6th highest bid was for Farhad Moshiri’s ‘2 Flamingos’, painted in 2008, which went under the hammer for $199,500 well above the projected $100,000-150,000.

Moshiri, 53, is a Tehran-based artist who studied fine arts at California Institute of the Arts. Drawing equally from eastern and western traditions, he is best known for his technically exquisite, conceptually rich paintings.

The places 8th to 13th of the most expensive works in the sale were taken by  Iranian artists.

  For Charity

The sale offered three important works of art to benefit reputable charitable organizations.

The proceeds of ‘Pentagon’ made in 2011 by the renowned artist Monir Farmanfarmaian, 92, will be benefiting The Arjan Ala Charitable Trust (AACT) which in turn is dedicated to supporting the Iranian Comprehensive Haemophilia Care Centre (ICHCC), a cause that is close to the artist’s heart.

Donated by the artist, ‘Pentagon’ was sold for $150,000. The work is an enchanting example of the artist’s most definitive series of mirror mosaic and reverse-glass painting works that explore the infinite possibilities of geometry.

A sculpture by acclaimed artist Parviz Tanavoli from his ‘Heech’ series was also sold for $150,000.

The next three works by Tanavoli, Faramarz Pilaram and Sohrab Sepehri belonged to the ‘Saqqakhaneh’ movement which was under focus at the event.

  Saqqakhaneh School

The art sale presented a collection of 19 works titled ‘Beyond the Fountain: Pioneers of Saqqakhaneh’ by the key pioneering Iranian artists who helped shape the Saqqakhaneh movement in Iran in the 1960s. Led by rare and seminal works from Tanavoli and Pilaram, Saqqakhaneh took its name from votive fountains installed for public drinking and congregating mainly in the older quarters of Iranian towns and cities.

Aiming to reconcile their Iranian heritage and culture with western art, the Saqqakhaneh artists shared a common fascination for traditional poetics and iconography and recognized the social role of the artist to create works which were accessible and understandable to the contemporary Iranian audience.

Widely recognized as the most important movement of the 20th century art in Iran, Saqqakhaneh put to light the works of Tanavoli, Pilaram, Sepehri, Massoud Arabshahi, Nasser Ovissi and Sadegh Tabrizi amongst others aiming “to find and establish a national Iranian school of painting that was revolutionary in its ability to approach tradition whilst instilling a sense of freedom from the rigid boundaries of visual clichés,” the Christie’s website wrote.

A highlight of the exceptional collection was ‘Composition 3’ by Pilaram (1937-1982) which was sold for $150,000.

In his works, the artist integrates architectural elements recalling the shapes of mosques and minarets from his hometown Isfahan and adapts votive Islamic motifs into his works, seeking inspiration from elements such as popular printed prayers and seals.

‘Persepolis’ by Tanavoli, 79, executed in the early 1960’s, was sold for $137,500, over double its estimate at $40,000-60,000.

Two more works by Moshiri and a piece by Koorosh Shishegaran, 71, were sold for $106,250 each.

The other works of Iranian artists were sold for lower than $100,000 including a calligraphy painting by Nasrollah Afjehei, 83, ($93,750), Pilaram’s ‘Compositions 6, ($87,500) and Moshiri’s ‘Light Green Jar on White’ ($81,250).

On the whole, Pialaram had five pieces in the auction which all were sold. Tanavoli and Moshiri each had four works, all sold. Three pieces by Sepehri and Manouchehr Yektai, 94, two works by Shishegaran, Farmanfarmaian and Mohammad Ehsai, 77, presented at the sale were all sold.

Christie’s, the world’s leading art business, offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewelry, photographs, collectibles and more.

Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 12 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zurich, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Mumbai.


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