Art And Culture

Sepehri’s Painting Receives Top Bid at Sotheby’s London

 Works that won the highest bids by Sohrab Sepehri (L), Mahmoud Mokhtar (C) and Bahman Mohasses  Works that won the highest bids by Sohrab Sepehri (L), Mahmoud Mokhtar (C) and Bahman Mohasses

Sotheby’s auction of ‘20th Century Art: Middle East’ was organized in London on Oct. 23 with Iranian works comprising over 60% worth of sale and a painting by Sohrab Sepehri garnering the highest bid.

The event, held at Wemyss Gallery on New Bond Street, was among the most seminal auctions for 20th-century art of the Middle East, featuring some of the rarest and most sought-after artists of the modern era.

There were 57 artworks offered at the auction, including 20 works by 16 Iranian contemporary artists, Honaronline reported.

Of the 20 Iranian works, 19 went under the hammer, fetching $1,580,000, while the entire sales figure of the auction was $2,745,000.

The Iranian works sold at Sotheby’s are by celebrated contemporary figures, including abstract expressionist Manouchehr Yektai, 94, painter and sculptor Bahman Mohasses (1931-2010), painters Hossein Kazemi (1924-96) and Nasser Assar (1928-2011).

The other acclaimed artists whose works were sold at the event are painter and sculptor Hossein Zenderoudi, 80, sketch artist and fashion illustrator Monir Farmanfarmaian, 93, illustrator, author, painter and sculptor Parviz Kalantari (1931-2016), painter Behjat Sadr (1924-2009) and pop art designer Farhad Moshiri, 54.

Painter, sketch artist and animator Rokni Haerizadeh, 39, calligrapher Azra Aqiqi Bakhshayesh, pop art painter Qasem Hajizadeh, 70, painter and installation artist Tala Madani, 36, and painter and sculptor Hossein Khosrojerdi, 60, were other Iranian artists whose works were sold.

  Top Five

The works of Sohrab Sepehri (1928-80), the celebrated Iranian poet and painter, also went under the hammer there. His untitled painting from ‘Tree Trunk Series’ fetched $360,000, the highest bid of the event.

The next highest bid was placed for a work by Egyptian sculptor Mahmoud Mokhtar (1891-1934). His 62-cm bronze statue ‘On the Banks of Nile’ sold for $297,000.

The third priciest work was an untitled painting by Bahman Mohasses—a disfigured rider on a horse. It was sold for $280,500. Next was an abstract, geometric painting by Charles Hossein Zenderoudi with the hammered price of $264,000. Zenderoudi’s work is titled ‘Spectacles Are Free’.

Both Mohasses and Zenderoudi’s works were expected to win the highest bids.

But the fifth place at $115,000 was shared by three works, one by Manouchehr Yektai and two by Farhad Moshiri. Yektai’s is a still life painting; the other two by Moshiri are untitled paintings, one from his ‘Jar Series’, the other an abstract composition of Persian letters and numbers.

There was another work by Sepehri at the auction, which was sold for $74,250. ‘Mirror Ball,’ an actual mirror ball created by Monir Farmanfarmaian garnered $57,750.

Another work by Yektai received a $38,000 bid. An abstract canvas by Hossein Khosrojerdi was sold for $29,700 and an untitled oil painting by Tala Madani for $24,750.

Nasser Assar’s untitled landscape fetched $19,800; ‘Light,’ an abstract painting with ink and oil on canvas by Azra Aqiqi Bakhshayesh sold for $18,1150; and two untitled works by Behjat Sadr—a collage on aluminum and an oil-on-hardboard abstract painting—were finalized at $16,500 and $14,000 respectively.

From Rokni Haerizadeh, there was a painting titled ‘National Portraits’ that fetched $13,200. Hossein Kazemi’s abstract landscape received $9,900. Parviz Kalantari’s untitled painting of a rug vendor, sort of a homage to Picasso, was sold for $6,600, the same price set for ‘Haji Firouz’ (the symbolic figure of Norouz, the Iranian New Year) by Ardeshir Mohasses.

Left unsold was a painting by Qasem Hajizadeh, which was titled ‘First Marriage’.

On October 25 at 10:30 a.m., the London branch of Sotheby’s organizes the auction titled ‘Arts of the Islamic World’, covering the vast historical and geographical breadth of art produced under Islamic patronage. 

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