LONDON - We sometimes want to be in two places at once. For those of us who remained in London for the Orientalist and Islamic sales last week – just a day after the sale in Qatar - we were very much in spirit with colleagues who were in Doha for the sale of international and Middle Eastern contemporary art. We had been gearing up for this sale for quite some while and anticipation was building up well before Art Dubai, where the travel exhibition tour had already begun in Jeddah early in the year. Some superb works had been brought together in a carefully curated ensemble that featured the exceptional Icons of the Nile by Chant Avedissian (achieving a world record for the artist in an overall record total of $15.2 million!). This masterpiece composed of 120 works which had taken nearly two decades to complete, provided what can only be called a lesson in social history through the iconography of its personalities. Other eye-catching works included a seminal piece by Julie Mehretu, a classic Judd, and two large Ehsais in multiples. These were all snapped up in a packed saleroom where auctioneer Alex Rotter managed the brisk sale with characteristic energy. Head of sale Lina Lazaar was widely featured in the press and senior members of Sotheby's who had travelled to Doha from New York and London reported a fantastic atmosphere at the state-of-the-art Katara cultural centre during the week preceding the sale.
Roberta Louckx, Executive Vice President and Head of Sotheby's efforts in Qatar said about the sale: "The auction room was pulsating with excitement and the results of the evening definitely affirm the importance of Qatar in the international art marketplace"
It looks as if our next Doha sale, now firmly established in the global auction calendar, is already the subject of further anticipation and attention.