20th Century Art / Middle East
Online Auction: 23–29 March 2022 • 3:00 PM BST • London

20th Century Art / Middle East 23–29 March 2022 • 3:00 PM BST • London

S otheby’s 20th Century Art/Middle East sale features eighty-three works from the most sought-after artists of Arab, North African, Iranian and Turkish origin spanning the modern era to the contemporary period. Within this tightly curated sale, highlights include works by both established and emerging artists, some appearing at auction for the first time, as well as an exciting selection of works by fourteen women artists from over eight countries.

Auction Highlights

Property from the Distinguished Collection of the late Dr Azmy

Dr Isaak Azmy’s contribution to the artistic and cultural life of Egypt manifested itself in a plethora of ways. He was unquestionably an artist, but also a professor and lecturer, primarily a designer, and he grew to become a museum founder, an expert consultant, an artistic jury, or yet again a researcher and publisher. His pioneering work brought him national and international recognition , and he was involved in a series of commitments within the most illustrious cultural institutions: the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the Education and Cultural Action (CECA) within the UNESCO, the International Council of African Museums, le Pavillon des Arts et du Dessin, amongst others. After launching his own private consulting office between 1963 and 1978, Azmy designed and supervised a long list of architectural, interior design, cinematographic, exhibition, and hospitality projects in Egypt and abroad. Most notably, he founded a series of cultural infrastructures to reflect and transmit his values, as well as his hopes for the artistic future of Egypt. The National Museum of Children’s Art in Cairo, and his international equivalent in Alexandria were developed under his initiative. In the same city, Azmy also created the Arts & Design Academy and the Early Creativity Development Centre. His vision culminated with the Al Shona Art Centre & Museums, a fine art establishment where Azmy strove to collect pieces of artists from different schools of art. As founder of the Al Shona International Biennale for Children’s Art, he brought together designers from 119 countries.

In light of his rich career, Isaak Azmy rises as one of the most significant benefactors and patrons of Egyptian art to this day. His profound commitment for the youth denotes a genuine love for his country, supported by a real awareness of its local cultural components. Beyond his tremendous contribution to applied arts in Egypt as an entrepreneur and collaborator, Azmy stands out by his very own artistic signature, displaying an acute understanding of the taste for contemporary art worldwide, which earned him to feature in multiple private exhibitions.

Sotheby’s is honoured to showcase two works by Dr Azmy, appearing at auction for the first time, and to present other important works from his collection, notably by the artists Gazbia Sirry and Hamed Nada.

[Contemporary art is ] “a language understood by everyone and that adapts well to our time” - Dr Azmy

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Women Artists in the Sale

Sotheby’s is honoured to present a large selection of artworks created by female artists in this season’s 20th century art/Middle East sale. Hailing from over eight countries in the region, each of the fourteen artists represented, including Gazbiya Sirry, Mounir Farman Farmaian, Etel Adnan, Fahrlenissa Zeid, Hayv Kahrama, Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye, Susan Hefuna, Inji Efflatoun, Baya, Helen Khal, Munira al Kazi, Behjat Sadr, Golnaz Fathi and Lalla Essaydi, displays a distinctly unique style which highlights not only their personal experiences but speak to both past and future generations.

Mohammed Melehi

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