christie’s sale of international modern & contemporary art re-writes auction history with total of $15,235,725/ aed55, 915,111
World Records for works by Arab and Iranian Artists smashed many times over tonight and a total of 62 new World Records at Auction established
• Highest total ever achieved in the category worldwide
• Arab and Iranian section of sale triples pre-sale expectations with Ahmed
Moustafa’s Qur’anic Polyptych of Nine Panels stealing the show, selling for
• Buyers from 30 countries register for the sale, with online participation from 13 different countries in the sale via Christie’s LIVE™
Dubai – Christie’s third auction of International Modern and Contemporary Art held in Dubai tonight (31 October 2007) far eclipsed pre-sale expectations, selling for a total of $15,235,725/AED 55,915,111 and establishing 62 new world records, reinforcing the strength and vibrancy of the Middle East art market and Christie’s dominant position within it. Christie’s smashed world records at auction for works by Arab and Iranian artists many times over tonight. The sale was led by Ahmed Moustafa’s Qur’anic Polyptych of Nine Panel, which sold for $657,000/AED 2,411,190. Tonight’s sale will be followed by Christie’s second sale of Contemporary Jewels and Watches in Dubai, to be held at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel at 6.30pm on 1 November 2007.
The sale was 94% sold by lot and 95% sold by value. Buyer breakdown this evening was 59% from the Middle East, of which 50% was represented by the UAE, 31% from Europe including 23% from the UK, 8% from USA, and 2% from elsewhere.
“This auction underlines the importance and quality of Arab and Iranian art now available. Finally the record-breaking results of tonight’s sale demonstrate the category’s true potential,” said William Lawrie, Specialist, Modern & Contemporary Arab & Iranian Art. “Tonight clients from the Middle East competed with buyers from around the world at the highest level in order to secure these ‘must-have’ pieces, demonstrating that in the space of just under two years the Middle East art market has received the international attention it has long deserved.”
“Christie’s has truly internationalized the market for the major artists from the region. The Christie’s team in Dubai is delighted,” added Michael Jeha, Managing Director, Christie’s Middle East, after the auction finished.
Spectacular results were achieved for artists from every area in the Middle East. Egyptian artist Ahmed Moustafa realized the highest price ever achieved for a painting by an Arab artist, as well as a world record price at auction for his work. The result tonight more than doubled the previous record for any work by an Arab artist, also set for Moustafa’s Where the Two Oceans Meet (Variant No 3), 2001, which sold to a private Middle Eastern buyer for $284,800 /AED 1,045,814 at Christie’s May 2006 Dubai sale. A prize-winning work of the 1970s by Moustafa also performed extremely well tonight -Excavation from the Twentieth Century, an installation of an engraved, hand-folded aluminium sheet, with animal bones achieved $457,000 /AED1,677,190.
Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri, the most sought-after young artist in the Middle East, was represented in the sale by One World – Yek Donia (estimate: $60,000-80,000), a depiction of a map of the world executed in thousands of crystals on canvas on board in 2007, which sold for $601,000 /AED2,205,670, the second highest price achieved tonight, and a new world record for a work . Clients demonstrated an insatiable appetite for the Iranian works offered tonight, again smashing the world record price for a painting by an Iranian artist at auction many times over. Another top selling Iranian work was Charles Hossein Zenderoudi’s Mir + 54 + BZ + S, painted in 1962 and offered from a private French collection, which sold for $481,000 /AED 1,765,270. A new world record price at auction was also established for a sculpture by an Iranian artist, for Parviz Tanavoli’s Standing Poet, executed earlier this year, which sold for $337,000/AED 1,236,790.
A further highlight of the sale tonight was a group of six paintings by the Syrian masters Fateh Moudarres and Louay Kayyali, from the collection of an American couple, Edwin and Traudis Kennedy, which collectively sold for $403,750 /AED 1,481,763. In 1961 Edwin was posted as the Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of the United States in Damascus, the same year that he befriended the two Syrian artists. The top selling work from the collection was The Last Supper by Moudarres which sold for $145,000/ AED 532,150, nearly three times more than the low estimate.
Christie’s holds world auction records for all the Lebanese artists presented tonight. The top selling work by an Iranian tonight was Chafic Abboud with Chambre – La Serviette Bleue, 1977, which sold for $265,000 /AED 972,550. All of the North Africa artists in tonight’s sale achieved world records at auction. This group was led by Farid Belkahia’s Nuit Étoilée leading the group, selling for $109,000/ AED 400,030
The second sale of International Modern and Contemporary Art in February 2007 established a new world record for Adbul Kadir Al-Rais, with Yesteryear, 1995, which sold for $262,400/AED 970,880. Tonight the UAE based artist was represented by Untitled (from the ‘Waw’ series), a rare, very large calligraphic watercolour, painted in 2007 which sold for $133,000/AED 488,110. Another UAE artist, Najat Makki was represented by What happens behind closed doors, which realized $63,400 /AED 232,678
The sale also included a carefully curated selection of works by some of the most exciting international and Western artists spanning several important periods which received excellent prices tonight, demonstrated the huge potential and power that Dubai commands as an international selling platform in Middle East. The section was led by Arnaldo Pomodoro’s Sfera con sfera which was the third highest price achieved tonight, fetched $505,000/AED1,853,350. Damien Hirst, Atorvastatina (estimate: $400,000-600,000), from his continuing ‘Pharmaceutical Paintings’ series begun in the early 1990s, sold for $481,000 /AED1,765,270 A new world for Shirin Neshat was also achieved, with Guardians of the Revolution (from the ‘Women of Allah’ series), which realized $241,000 /AED 884,470
The sale tonight saw bidders registered from 30 countries, and online bidders from 13 countries participating in the sale via Christie’s LIVE™, a real-time multi-media auction service. The first lot of sale, Moudarres’ The Last Supper, saw a LIVE™ underbid of $95,000, and momentum from clients participating via Christie’s LIVE™ continued throughout the sale, enabling collectors and interested parties around the Middle East and the world to enjoy the look, sound and feel of Christie's auctions from their personal computer, as well as participate in them. Christie’s LIVE™ has ensured that Christie’s auctions in Dubai to have the widest possible global outreach, as the results of the auction tonight demonstrate this.
“Tonight the young market here in Dubai came of age,” concluded Jussi Pylkkänen, President of Christie's Europe and the Middle East, and auctioneer of the sale.
Notes to Editors
Christie’s commitment to the Middle East is unrivalled. Christie’s is the first international auction house to have established a permanent presence in the Gulf region when the company opened a representative office in Dubai in April 2005. To date the firm has staged three sale series in Dubai, with a fourth series of take place in the spring and autumn of 2008. Christie’s has also held four international public art exhibitions and numerous charity auctions throughout the region raising over $15 million for worthy causes.
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