Highlights from Sotheby's First-Ever Boundless: Dubai Auction

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Launch Slideshow

Sotheby’s Dubai will stage its inaugural Boundless: Dubai auction on 13 November. The sale presents new perspectives on art from and inspired by the Middle East, and explores the influence of the region on artistic innovation around the globe. The sale, which has been curated by Ashkan Baghestani and a worldwide team of specialists at Sotheby’s, brings together works sourced internationally to create a forward-looking dialogue for both new and seasoned collectors. Highlights from the sale will be on view at Sotheby's Dubai from 7–11 November from 10am–8pm and on 12 November from 10am–3pm #BoundlessDubai



Boundless: Dubai
13 November | Dubai

Highlights from Sotheby's First-Ever Boundless: Dubai Auction

  • Bahman Mohasses, Untitled, 1966. Estimate $180,000–250,000.
    Pioneering poet and painter Bahman Mohasses’ entire oeuvre is imbibed with a singular flair for depicting raw feeling, yet his work from the 1960s holds a particular fascination due to its depth of expression and its chilling host of quasi-mythological characters. This seminal work from 1966 – the swansong of the bohemian Iranian avant-garde movement – is a haunting composition almost entirely occupied by a contorted white figure, who sits in a blue-grey marine landscape.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Hassan Hajjaj, Wink, 2007. Estimate $8,000–12,000.
    British-Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj’s colourful photographic portraits are a vibrant fusion of contemporary cultures – blending the glossy aesthetic of a fashion shoot with Moroccan tradition and street culture. Infused with a bold palette, the vivid and clashing materials Hajjaj uses include patterned textiles, furniture, clothes and props often made by the artist to influence our understanding of the person in the image.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Yto Barrada, Play (Lyautey Unit Blocks), 2010.
    Estimate $30,000–40,000.
    Evoking a conventional building block set, the painted wooden units in this installation assemble to spell LYAUTEY – in reference to Marshal Hubert Lyautey. The first Resident General of French-occupied Morocco from 1912 to 1925, Lyautey oversaw large-scale urban development programmes and wide-ranging surveys of the country’s artistic practices and archaeological sites.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Fouad El-Khoury, Sherihan (From the Egyptian Cinema Series), 1987. Estimate $18,000–25,000.
    In a post-colonial context, the rise of a Lebanese cinematic tradition became a unifying tool – with famed filmmakers and photographers turning their lenses toward Middle Eastern icons. This work by El-Khoury captures the illustrious Egyptian actress and singer, Sherihan. Pictured here in black and white, seated with her lips slightly parted and eyes transfixed, spellbound as she gazes toward the foreground. Depicting a woman who is usually the object of the eye as part of the audience, El-Khoury manipulates the gaze of the viewer, who paradoxically becomes the star of the screen.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Samia Halaby, Untitled (Big Michelangelo Perspective No. 162), 1965. Estimate $30,000–40,000.
    Dating from Samia Halaby’s earliest period, Michelangelo Perspective is the only figurative work by the artist to have ever appeared at auction. Synthesising her unique use of line and colour with a study of fresco-inspired drawings, the painting is telling of Halaby’s dual identities. The work evokes the religious hybridity that make up the Palestinian landscape and culture – with all three Abrahamic religions brought together.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Damien Hirst, The Souls on Jacob’s Ladder Take Their Flight, 1, 2007. Estimate $12,000–18,000.
    The sale includes a number of stunning prints by Damien Hirst, depicting one of his most enduring symbols – the idealised beauty encapsulated by butterflies .

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Franz West, Onkelstuhl (Uncle Chair).
    Estimate $20,000–30,000.
    With their steel frames draped in brightly-coloured woven fabric, Austrian sculptor Franz West’s Uncle Chairs are among his most iconic and important works – embodying his fascination with the relationship between art and object. Identifying himself as ‘an activist fighting for the emancipation of furniture’, his chairs invite the viewer to sit down whilst simultaneously retaining their status as elusive works of art.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • François-Xavier Lalanne, Oiseau d’Argent, A Rocking Chair, 1990s. Estimate $18,000–20,000.
    A beautiful and eclectic work, the Oiseau d’Argent rocking chair exemplifies François-Xavier Lalanne’s fixation with birds and their otherworldly capacity for movement. For Lalanne, nature contained an infinite variety of forms and inspired him to craft bold and luxurious zoomorphic pieces. His work makes the viewer aware of the animal perspective and whimsically reintroduces the animal presence into the human sphere.



    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Mahmoud Raif Efendi¸ Cedid Atlas Tercümesi (A Translation of a New Atlas), Constantinople, 1218 AH (April 1803- March 1804). Estimate £80,000–120,000.
    This rare Cedid Atlas is one of only 50 copies printed of the first large folio World Atlas printed in the Islamic world. A prestigious project, the atlas was published with the seal of approval of Sultan Selim III, who in 1792 had initiated the idea to model the Ottoman state along European lines, and who sought to introduce western technical and scientific knowledge to the state.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Journey to Mecca, Narrated by Gregory Morton, Produced and Directed by Marcel Ichac and Raymond Ruffin, 1948.
    Estimate $10,000–15,000.
    The sale includes a very rare English language version of one of the first documentary films about the Hajj , including early film footage of Mecca. The producer and director of this important documentary, Marcel Ichac, was a pioneering French filmmaker, photographer, explorer, skier and mountaineer. He directed the first two French expeditions to the Himalayas in 1936 and 1950, dived with Jacques Cousteau, and made the first documentary about caving with Norbert Casteret. Icha made this film as part of the effort to counter Nazi propaganda, showing North Africans freely travelling to Mecca in spite of the war, made under difficult conditions with Ibn Saud’s consent.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Sohrab Sepehri, Untitled (From the Tree Trunk Series), 1970.
    Estimate $200,000–300,000.
    One of the most important works by Sohrab Sepehri to appear at auction, this rare majestic painting of a semi-abstracted grove of trees is unparalleled in its elegant brushwork and restrained palette – portraying both the influence of the Far East and the profound love Sepehri had for his homeland.



    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Jean Dubuffet, Palmiers aux Bedouins, 1948.
    Estimate $60,000–80,000.
    During the gloomy post-war years in a ravaged Europe, Dubuffet spent considerable amounts of time with the Bedouin people of the Algerian desert, which proved a great remedy and welcome escape from daily life. Executed during the artist’s travels to Ghardaia and El Golea on the doorsteps of the Sahara desert, Palmiers aux Bedouin s is a rare example from an exceptional body of early works.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai



     

  • Idris Khan, This Thing, 2013.
    Estimate $20,000–30,000.
    Idris Khan’s enigmatically titled and monochromatic work encapsulates the artist’s enduring fascination with the Nietzschean binaries of order and disorder, clarity and obscurity. Made up of hundreds of lines of Arabic – Khan’s own writings in response to art, literature, philosophy and religion – hand stamped on top of each other towards a completely opaque centre point. Confusing all meanings and progressively inhibiting understanding, the result of the experiment is to generate uncertainty and a tension between the bright edges of clarity and reason and the impenetrable core.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Antoine Malliarakis Mayo, Ismailia (Le Marché Arabe), 1934.
    Estimate $30,000–40,000.
    Born in Egypt, Mayo spent his youth in Alexandria before moving to Paris to study art – straddling a trans-regional identity. The artist spent much of his time in the artistic hotbed of Montparnasse and befriending artists including Man Ray, Picabia and Foujita along with the infamous muse Kiki de Montparnasse. The cerebral and provocative nature of the Surrealist genre is a consistent theme in Mayo’s work and heavily impacted the burgeoning Surrealist movement in Cairo. Ismailia is one of the earliest works by Mayo ever to appear at auction and perfectly encapsulates the amalgamation of the artist’s Egyptian origins merged with the French style of the 1930s.



    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai



     

  • Khalil Gibran, A collection of thirty-three letters written to Marie El-Khoury from 1908-1920 accompanied by three rare works on paper. Estimate $5,000–7,000.
    The last major collection of its kind, this previously unknown series of letters and works on paper by Khalil Gibran offers a rare glimpse into the mysterious personal life of one of the greatest novelists of modern Arab and American literature. Testament to his importance, Gibran’s most renowned novel, The Prophet, has never been out of publication since its first edition in 1923 and has been translated into over fifty languages. It is extremely rare to see such objects at auction, having only passed through the hands of Gibran’s closest friends and their descendants.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Tamara de Lempicka, Indien à Turban, 1939.
    Estimate $70,000–90,000.
    Tamara de Lempicka’s oeuvre blends opposing influences – figuration and abstraction, Italian Renaissance portraiture and Hollywood glamour – to extraordinary effect. Painted in vivid colours and set against a sky-blue background, this work is an idealised portrait of a man wearing a white turban and traditional gold-rimmed robe. The face is cast in stark chiaroscuro, delineating his angular features with bold contours – a stylistic geometry that reflects Lempicka’s progressive attitude.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Zaha Hadid, Prototype Aqua Table (From the Principale Collection), 2005.
    Estimate $7,000–10,000.
    The sale also celebrates the legacy and creative spirit of the late visionary architect Zaha Hadid. Dubbed ‘Queen of the Curve’, Hadid transformed the landscape of modern architecture, with highly expressive, sweeping forms. The voluptuous Aqua Table is an uninterrupted whole, a curious and curvaceous form. It adopts the dynamic gestures of liquid to create a continuous surface and surreal visual effect.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Ali Banisadr, In Media Res, 2015.
    Estimate $200,000–300,000.
    Internationally acclaimed artist Ali Banisadr’s captivating canvases begin with a synesthetic approach to painting, sparked by an internal ‘sound’ that is externalised onto a canvas. Translated as ‘into the middle of things’, the title of In Media Res epitomises this approach. The audience is thrown into an intoxicating mix of colour and exuberant brushstrokes, without a central focal point, forming a parallel with both futurism and abstract expressionism.



    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

  • Kader Attia, Demoncracy, 2010.
    Estimate $30,000–40,000.
    Among the most recognised and institutional Arab artists today tackling issues of post-colonialism, transnationalism and identity, Kader Attia’s works illuminate the beauties and woes of the contemporary condition. Executed at the precipice of the Arab Spring – a transformative and widespread democratising movement – this rare neon work is a commentary on the fluidity across the seemingly rigid lines of the Christian West and the Islamic East.

    Boundless: Dubai
    13 November | Dubai

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