K ick starting the auction season has never felt more exciting than this year as it coincides with a return to normality and the desire to re-engage with real life events, getting up close and personal with coveted artwork and jewellery. With Dubai Expo 2020 making its long-awaited debut on 1 October, there is nowhere more compelling to be than in Dubai itself.
Never slow off the block, Sotheby’s – now a clear leader in the auction world – is celebrating this UAE moment with an exhibition of its own at its DIFC office, replete with wonderful offerings for every taste. Alongside the international auction highlights, described as a “one-stop destination for lovers of art and jewellery,” there will be a lively programme of events, from panel discussions to workshops for children, and tours for visitors. It is also the perfect opportunity for new or seasoned collectors to acquire and acquaint themselves with both emerging and celebrated artists from the Emirates.
Two concurrent exhibitions will showcase the spectrum of Sothebys’ international auctions whilst championing the local art and design scene, with six UAE-based jewellers displaying their designs alongside a selection of works by UAE based artists curated by Engage 101. Unique masterpieces of classical Islamic art, magnificent gemstones, rare Faberge, stylish masterpieces and captivating artworks by leading Arab and Iranian painters will complete the range of offerings on show. Sophie Stevens, Sothebys Jewellery specialist for MENA, says “jewellery production in the UAE has undergone a complete transformation in the past decade, as the full creative process can now be completed locally from start to finish…We are bringing together legacy pieces from major jewellery maisons such as Yataghan, Hashi, Gafla, Misk, and Susana Martins, with flourishing contemporary designs.”
The Middle East has long been a lover of beautiful gemstones and jewels, so it comes as no surprise to see re-creations of Emirati heritage and Arabian history – from pearls to perfume wands – in this exhibition that will surprise and delight viewers. Side by side with jewels from Sothebys’ November Geneva and New York auctions of Magnificent and Noble Jewels, one can see for example, Misk’s tribute to Arabic mosaics and decorative arts, next to an exquisite pair of emerald and diamond pendant earclips designed by Schlumberger for Tiffany or diamond earrings by Van Cleef and Arpels (this latter a mere snip at $20,000-30,000!)
In a similar vein, proving that Emirati art rivals the best of anything produced in the region, one can view exciting works by Mohammed Khalid, Alaa Edris, Nasir Nasrallah, and Sara Ahli, alongside those by Middle Eastern modern masters such as FakhrelNissa Zeid, Parviz Tanavoli and Athier Mousawi. The backdrop to these modernist works will be represented by iconic works from the seasonal Arts of the Islamic World and India auctions (to take place on Oct 27 in London) which celebrates the production of historic objects, paintings and manuscripts from across a multitude of continents and over ten centuries. As if this were not enough, a rare collection of Faberge treasures with over 20 exquisite objets will also travel to Dubai. Faberge, the greatest of court jewellers, favoured by the Russian Imperial family and other royal houses across Europe, created a range of rare jewels and objects of vertu, colourful enamels, gilded items, candlesticks, photograph frames and egg-pendants that remain highly sought-after to this day.
Finally, a selection of jewels owned by the late, legendary ‘Egyptian Marilyn Monroe’ Hind Rostom (1929-2011) – to be sold in Geneva on November 10 – will also be shown, bearing testimony to her fine taste and passion for collecting jewellery. With such provenance, owning one of her dazzling jewels will be like sharing a part of Cairo’s golden-age history. For once, it feels entirely justified to have a ‘fear of missing out’ if one doesn’t drop in for a viewing, or at the very least scour the Sothebys website for all the hot information! Don’t delay!
If you missed the opportunity to view the exhibitions at the DIFC location, please check the Sothebys website for all details.