ArtDubai might be over but there's still plenty to see and buy at Christie's this April

Published March 26th, 2013 - 08:16 GMT
Chafic Abboud ”Untitled” and Louay Kayyali ”Boy Reading”
Chafic Abboud ”Untitled” and Louay Kayyali ”Boy Reading”

With Art Dubai wrapped up for another year, Christie’s auction house is preparing for its next sale of Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish art. The auctions will be held in Dubai April 16 and 17.

The second-day Part II sale – which offers work from more contemporary, emerging artists – will once again include pieces from $3,000.

Among the highlights of contemporary works in the Part I sale is “Winter in Venice, Ca.” (2011), a canvas by veteran Lebanese artist Huguette Caland. Described as “vibrant and joyous,” the work, Christie’s opined, “is a perfect example of the artist’s technique depicting the bright pink, muted green and blue colors of a winter day in her adopted home by the sea in California.

Among the other 28 lots in the part I sale are works by Saliba Douaihy, Chafic Abboud, Louay Kayyali, Fateh Moudarres, Paul Guiragossian, Lalla Essaydi and Nadim Karam.

“It has been a busy few months leading up to the Spring sales,” remarked Hala Khayat, Christie’s Specialist and Head of Sale, “and to have such a strong group of modern works is very encouraging.

“There are also works by established contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish artists, which complement the modern highlights of the Part I sale.”

This sale will be complimented by the Part II sale that includes works by around 90 artists, more than 20 of whom are represented in an international auction for the first time. Christie’s Dubai sales are sponsored by Zurich.

“The Part II sale brings together modern Arab and Iranian masters with the younger, cutting edge artists, several being offered at auction for the first time,” Khayat noted. “The selection includes sculptures, works on paper, paintings and photographs with estimates from $3,000.”

Another highlight of the sale is a monumental painting by Syrian pioneer Fateh Moudarres (1922-1999). Dated 1960, the untitled work represents a faceless crowd, its members stripped of their identity, and is said to allude to the political events and social tragedies in the Middle East at the time. Christie’s has estimated its retail value at $150,000-$200,000.

The auction includes two portraits by Syrian master, Louay Kayyali (1934-1978). Active during a time of immense upheaval in the Arab world, Kayyali was one of the region’s most prominent socio-political artists. His powerful depictions of ordinary people are characterized by strong fluid lines and an absence of detail that focuses attention on the people without distraction.

“Young Boy with a Watering Can” and “Boy Reading” (with an estimated retail worth of $50,000-$70,000 and $80,000-$120,000, respectively) are both prominent examples of Kayyali’s work from the 1960s.

Among the contemporary works in the Part I and Part II sales are three exclusive photographs by Lalla Essaydi. Now based in the U.S., the Moroccan-born artist’s work is represented in some of the world’s most prestigious institutions and private collections.

Essaydi combines the skills of the artist and the photographer, using calligraphy in henna to embellish her work. Often inspired by 19th-century Orientalist paintings, her compositions depict Arab women and explore the representation of femininity in the Arab world.

Included in the Part II sale, is “Juan Nuwarr” (2008), a digital print in a light box, from an edition of three, created by Libyan artist Arwa Abouon. It shows two young boys in an old sepia photograph, with 3-D glasses super-imposed on their faces. The work juxtaposes what was then young and must now be old with the jarring, brightly colored glasses.

Christie’s auction of Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art, takes place at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel April 16 and 17. Viewing is open to the public at JET 14-15 April, from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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