Thu, Apr 27, 2023

Art & Auctions
Christie’s Middle Eastern art auction returns

Christie’s Middle East has announced the return of the Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art Online auction from May 1 to 16.

The sale comprises 63 works across mediums including paintings, sculpture and photography, from the period 1963 to 2021.

Leading the sale is an exceptional work by Moroccan artist Mohammed Melehi, Wilde, 1963. (Estimate $100,000-150,000) coming from the Private Collection of Toni Maraini, Rome. This rare work hails from the artist’s time in New York, and was exhibited in Galleria Trastevere in the same year of its making, and was also recently exhibited at London’s New Waves exhibition at The Mosaic Rooms in 2019.

The sale covers artistic production from across the Middle East and North Africa, including works by artists from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. Exciting contemporary names from the region such as Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim, Ali Banisadr, Hassan Hajjaj, Reem Al Faisal, Thameur Mejri and Jawhara Al Saud, are balanced by strong modern works including Etel Adnan’s Khat wa Rasm (Line and Hand Drawing), 1986, (estimate $50,000-70,000); Dia Azzawi’s Gilgamesh Epic no 4, 1966 (estimate $15,000-20,000) and Shaker Hassan Al Said Kitabat a'la jidar raqam (1) (Writings on the Wall number (1)), 1978 (estimate $70,000-100,000).

Leading modern female artists include Samia Halaby, Helen Khal, Etel Adnan, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Huguette Caland and Behjat Sadr, alongside contemporary female artists Hayv Kahraman, Tala Madani, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Dana Awartani and Shirin Neshat who comprise a third of the works on offer in the auction, a strong market barometer of the continued interest in and rising demand for works by these talented artists.

Highlights include

The Maghreb section of the auction includes a highlight from Tunisian-Ukranian artist Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Carthage Presidence, 2009 (estimate $50,000-60,000). This monumental work (over four metres long) represents a unique opportunity for collectors to access a work from the sold-out series. Nadia’s work can be found in MoMA, Guggenheim and Centre Pompidou collections.

The sale includes two commissioned works on paper by the Iraqi female artist Hayv Kahraman, who explores themes of identity, femininity and transformation throughout her work. Kurdish Women, 2009 (estimate $25,000-35,000), depicts a group of women from Kurdistan bird-watching, and is the largest figurative work on paper by the artist to come to the secondary market.

Dana Awartani (Saudi Arabian, B. 1987), Icosahedron Within a Dodecahedron (From the Platonic Solid Duals Series), 2016 (estimate $25,000-35,000) is a sculpture comprising wood, copper and glass. Of the talented Saudi Arabian females artists, Awartani has recently showcased her works at prestigious venues such as the Sharjah Biennial and Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art. In this work the artist fuses Euclidean geometry with Islamic geometry, and craftmanship with contemporary practice.

Suzy Sikorski, Specialist, Post War and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art comments: "There is a rising demand for Middle Eastern art at a regional and international level, now met with a growing interest of new collectors to the category that are focusing on GCC, especially Saudi Arabia, met with prestigious art exhibitions and residency programs. International exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale and Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art have also built more awareness of Middle Eastern art in a non-profit space, while also allowing for a more global perspective on art from the region. Christie’s Middle East’s auction this season in Dubai reinforces our role to nurture the market here, for the regional and the international stage."

Marie-Claire Thijsen, Head of Sale, Middle Eastern Modern and Contemporary Art comments, says: "Our online sale includes strong representation from the contemporary market which is going from strength to strength. We are seeing a significant increase in demand for work by contemporary names from the region, not only from collectors in the Gulf but notably internationally. We anticipate that there are names to watch included in this sale who will become highly sought after in the immediate future. This is an exciting development for emerging talent across the diaspora and the category as a whole."

Estimates start from $2000 - $100,000 and the sale is expected to realise in the region of $1,311,000.

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