Owing to the instructions issued by the British Government on Monday 23rd March, the sale of 20th Century Art / Middle East that was scheduled to take place on 24 March will now take the form of an online sale, running from 27 to 31 March. Details of how to bid online are available here.
A market that has now firmly established itself in terms of value, credibility and importance, Arab and Iranian modern masters continue to captivate buyers from all corners of the world – no longer for novelty or niche reasons but because major international museums are exhibiting and celebrating these artists. Recognition has finally established widespread interest in art from this region.
Of note in the upcoming sale is a striking abstract seascape by Etel Adnan shows a lone ship on an emerald sea, colour-blocked against a vivid shoreline and dazzling sky. Rich pickings for the discerning collector!
Speaking of rare finds, two Iranian modern masters are represented in this sale through early works of the highest quality: one by Mansour Ghandriz and another by Massoud Arabshahi. The Skull and Palette by Ghandriz shows a fascinating glimpse into his formation and early subject matter, while Arabshahi’s signature motifs on a beautiful, azure background typify the best of his Saqqakhaneh work – this one dating to 1966 and from the artist’s estate.
The auction, featuring more than 70 lots, will also present an unprecedented offering of seven works by sought-after Iraqi artist Mahmoud Sabri in a single sale – including the first known work by the artist. The pieces come from the collection of Sabri’s close lifelong friends, brothers Hafez and Hamdi Touqmatchi, who published the first and only survey of the artist’s career in 2013. Having met Sabri at school in Baghdad, their collection chronicles four decades of his oeuvre, throughout which he expressed a socialist message of universal equality, whilst paying homage to Assyrian and Babylonian art and architecture.
With some of the greatest names in modern and contemporary art from across the region, including Monir Farmanfarmaian, Mohamed Melehi, Fahrelnissa Zeid, Ramses Younan and Bahman Mohasses, this auction promises great opportunities for new and seasoned collectors, at a range of price points and with unique opportunities to acquire significant works. What a great way to usher in the spring!