LONDON - The Orientalist Sale and Arts of the Islamic World will once again be held in tandem as Orientalist & Islamic Week at Sotheby's. The two sales enjoy a remarkable synergy, describing and representing as they do the same regions of Turkey, North Africa, Egypt, and the Middle East and India, albeit from quite opposite viewpoints. While Arts of the Islamic World is made up of objects, artefacts and pictures made in these regions by centuries of the finest craftsmen and painters, the paintings in the Orientalist Sale are, with only a few exceptions, by Western painters of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries looking in, applying their own European styles of painting to describe to audiences at home a new and unexplored world.
Ludwig Deutsch’s The Procession of the Mahmal through the Streets of Cairo. Estimate £1,000,000-1,500,000.
Today, Orientalist pictures and Islamic art have become the currencies of cultural exchange, for an increasing number of buyers of Orientalist paintings – the majority even – now hail from the very parts of the world they depict, drawn by their documentary value; while Islamic art is finding ever growing popularity among international collectors and institutions around the world. Seeing both sales on view in Bond Street is as exciting for us as experts as it is for our visitors to the galleries. Each category lends the other context – a painting will bring to life the sword, the ceramic or the fabric on display in the cabinet nearby, showing it in its intended scene or setting; while the catalogued objects provide a kind of key to those seen in the paintings. What this translates into is collectors and museums developing an interest in both categories – Islamic art and the genre of Orientalism.
A Magnificent Qajar Royal Portrait of Fath ‘Ali Shah attended by a Prince, attributed to Mihr ‘Ali, Persia, circa 1810–15. Estimate £1,500,000–2,500,000.