The Orientalist sale in London this week achieved strong results. With 70 percent of lots sold achieving prices above their pre-sale high estimates. Additionally, five artists’ auction records were set. Including a new auction record for an Egyptian sculptor – Au Bord du Nil (On the banks of the Nile) by Mahmoud Mokhtar sold for £458,500 ($761,981).
Claude Piening, Sotheby’s Head of Orientalist Paintings, comemented on this week’s auction saying, “Interest in today’s sale was strong, not only from the MENA region, but also from Europe, America and Southeast Asia. Pictures depicting Turkish subjects or by Turkish artists performed particularly well.”
This year’s Orientalist Sale will feature masterpieces by leading artists of the genre, depicting scenes and landscapes of Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa. Egypt is the focus of an animated work from 1909 by Ludwig Deutsch, depicting the Mahmal travelling on camelback through the streets of Cairo en route to Mecca. An important oil from 1842 by David Roberts, The Coppersmiths’ Bazaar, Cairo similarly draws on Egypt for aesthetic inspiration, while daily life in the deserts and streets of the Middle East is depicted in fine examples from Rudolf Ernst, Charles Théodore Frère, and Eugène Fromentin.
North Africa and the Maghreb are strongly represented by three oils by Etienne Dinet, as well as in the work of Eugène Girardet and Frederick Arthur Bridgman. The Ottoman world, meanwhile, is brought to life by Western and Ottoman painters alike, including Germain Fabius Brest, Carlo Bossoli, Amadeo Preziosi, Ahmet Ali and Sevket Dag. The sale also includes a fine portrait bust of Othello the Moor by Pietro Calvi.