LONDON – Art of The Middle East & India week enjoyed strong results over four sales, offering a diverse range of property from a fast-growing area of the market. From ancient artefacts to works in neon, paintings and photography, the week started with the Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art sale, in which the top lot was Francis Newton Souza’s The Deposition, 1963, achieving £1.6 million – more than double its high estimate. The Arts of the Islamic World auction was led by rare manuscripts and calligraphies, with the exquisite Timurid manuscript of Sa’adi’s Kulliyat selling for £473,000. The Khosravani-Diba Sale allowed a glimpse in to this fascinating single-owner collection, with A study of a Stork – a work previously owned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis reaching £245,000, well above the £80,000 pre-sale estimate. The week concluded with the 20th Century Art/Middle East sale in which Mahmoud Mokhtar’s elegant marble, El Amira, 1925-30, sold for £545,000. In a further display of strength for this category, records were achieved for both Etel Adnan and Hossein Valamanesh. The combined sales totalled £14.7 million, exceeding the pre-sale expectations. VIEW SLIDESHOW
Bahman Mohasses was born in Rasht, Iran in 1931, and remains one of the central figures of Modernism in the region. In the forthcoming 20th Century Art/Middle East sale, a number of important works on canvas and on paper will be offered for sale, in a rare chance to see the breadth of his artistic output alongside his peers, and the generation of artists he subsequently influenced. After a period of political unrest in Iran, Mohasses left Iran for Italy in 1954, where he studied at the Academy of Arts in Rome under Ferruccio Ferrazzi, and was exposed the work of Alberto Giacometti, Michelangelo and Dante. With a unique lens on both Europe and Iran, these two cultures continued in dialogue with each other throughout his career, before his death in 2010.
Rose Issa has spent more than twenty years championing the work of artists from the Middle East in her London gallery and beyond. Hugely influential in the careers of many key figures in contemporary art from the region, she has curated exhibitions around the world and published numerous books and catalogues to accompany them. This weekend, she will be in conversation with Juliet Cesar at Sotheby’s new Dubai office to coincide with the launch of her latest book, Signs of Our Times – From Calligraphy to Calligraffiti, co-authored with Juliet Cestar and Venetia Porter.
TEHRAN – To say that the Tehran art scene is booming would be an understatement. A veritable ‘renaissance’ of arts, crafts, design and culture is sweeping the capital, with the city’s walls increasingly carrying artistic murals and decorative elements instead of slogans. For the second year running, an extraordinary project has taken over Tehran’s main thoroughfares: the municipal equivalent of a city-wide gallery where large-scale reproductions of hundreds of well-known artworks – both Western and Iranian – hang randomly along the city’s main arteries. These pop-up artworks have been criticised for being aimed at an audience without the educational background to appreciate or absorb it. And as precarious as it may be to slow down the car to read the caption, to the outside visitor it seems a far more refreshing alternative (whatever the shortcomings!) to its Western billboard equivalent of naked underwear models which have indeed caused car accidents, increased consumption of fizzy drinks and other equally poor consumption products.
LONDON – Sotheby’s largest-ever Orientalist and Middle Eastern Art Week exceeded all pre-sale expectations (est. £9.9–14.2 million), after realising a total of £15,729,798. A unique grouping of five sales spanning centuries of art attracted thousands of visitors to our London galleries, where eight artist records were set during the week. Click ahead to see the sale highlights, from ultra rare sculptures with a political message to books that sold for more than 200 times their high estimate. LAUNCH SLIDESHOW
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