The Doha skyline


DOHA - It is great to be in Qatar again. Last night the drive into Doha from the airport was as thrilling as always, past the I. M. Pei designed Museum of Islamic Art illuminated and poised elegantly on its own island in the bay, and then along the Corniche, the traditional dhows silhouetted against the futuristic skyline of West Bay. The view is straight out of the best science fiction films – Blade Runner or Star Wars, blending traditional culture and a futuristic vision.


My colleague Benedict Carter from the Middle East department and I have just completed the press walk-through of our joint auction highlights exhibition at the new Katara Cultural Village. This is Sotheby's second exhibition at Katara this year, and follows our showing of Contemporary Art in January. Last time I was here two years ago the Village was still a building site, now transformed into a sophisticated cultural and social forum of narrow lanes in the traditional style lined with museums, exhibition spaces, and cafes, culminating in a grand forum with a huge amphitheatre overlooking the sea.


Our exhibition, comprising selected works from our Turkish & Islamic week series of sales in London on 24–26 April – including The Orientalist Sale, Arts of the Islamic World and An Eye for Opulence – has been well received by the journalists. Tomorrow and Saturday we are open to the public all day, but I hope to steal away for an hour or two at some point to re-visit one of my favourite museums, the Orientalist Museum, which contains one of the world's finest collections of Orientalist Art. Sadly time is never on our side – it is a flying visit, but as always a stimulating one.