Tue, Mar 7, 2017

Art & Auctions
Sotheby’s to show off masterpieces in Dubai

Sotheby’s is to hold an exhibition in Dubai showcasing a collection of modern and contemporary art, Orientalist masterpieces, rare artefacts and precious jewellery and watches that will be offered at its upcoming auctions.

The Dubai exhibition runs from March 14 to 19 and is Sotheby’s largest and most wide-ranging to date. It will open on March 14 led by a preview of Modern and Contemporary Arab and Iranian artworks from its upcoming 20th Century Art/Middle East auction in London. 

Bringing together worldwide highlights from Sotheby’s international auction calendar spanning the forthcoming season, the exhibition will star highly sought-after masterpieces by celebrated artists from the region alongside myriad pieces of historical importance and a selection of extraordinary jewellery and watches. 

The exhibition will coincide with the opening of Sotheby’s Dubai’s gallery space and office. Located in the DIFC, Sotheby's Dubai will present an expanded programme of year-round events, including selling and non-selling exhibitions, events and talks, reflecting the spectrum of Sotheby's international sales and extensive client services. The office will complement the existing network of offices across the region.

Edward Gibbs, Sotheby’s Middle East & India Chairman, says: We will officially launch Sotheby's Dubai gallery and office space with the most expansive exhibition in our 40-year history of serving our clients in the Middle East. Providing a special preview to our clients in the region we will be unveiling, for the first time on their global pre-sale exhibition tour, outstanding artworks of rarity and exceptional quality, and extraordinary objects - from historic treasures of the Islamic world to exceptional jewellery and watches. Representing the array of what we source globally to meet the taste of discerning collectors, this exhibition marks the first of many at Sotheby's Dubai. We very much look forward to welcoming our clients - both those who are new to us and those whom we have served for many years - and sharing the breadth of what we offer.”


A vibrant and exciting international platform for modern and contemporary arts from North Africa, Turkey, the Middle East and Iran in London, Sotheby’s 20th Century Art/Middle East auction will take place on April 25 in London. 

The auction will prominently feature seminal works by important female artists from Fahrelnissa Zeid and Madiha Omar to Samia Halaby and Monir Farmanfarmaian. The sale will also comprise of celebrated artists with a strong institutional presence, led by a museum-quality work by world-renowned modern master Bahman Mohasess. 

Works on offer include Zeid’s seminal masterpiece Towards a Sky, 1953 (est. £550,000-650,000/$694,100-797,000), the second largest of her works to appear at auction; Mohasses’s Requiem Omnibus (Death of Martin Luther King), 1968 (est. £300,000-400,000/$368,000-490,000), a rare museum-quality work by the pioneering Iranian painter and poet, Mahmoud Saïd’s Portrait de Madame Batanouni Bey, 1923 (£150,000-250,000/$184,000-306,000), which is appearing on the market for the first time since it was painted for relatives of the Egyptian artist, and Farmanfarmaian’s Triangle of Hope, 2008 (est. £100,000-120,000/$123,000-147,000), which brings together the decorative elements of Iranian traditional craft with Western abstraction – in playful yet poignant homage to Islamic geometry and the ancient roots of Iranian culture. 

Also on offer are important Egyptian paintings from a collection created by German art critic Ursula Schernig and her husband Gerhard, This sale will offer eight works that span from the 1920s-80s in Egypt, led by five paintings by Fouad Kamel and an auction debut for Amy Nimr.


With a focus on artistic production under Islamic patronage, Arts of the Islamic World auction in London on April 26 covers more than a thousand years of artwork spanning multiple continents – including works from prestigious collections. 

The sale will showcase seventeen spectacular textiles from the collection of Argine Benaki Salvago, one of the most renowned collecting families of the 19th century and the founders of the Benaki Museum in Athens. 

Appearing at auction for the first time, the exquisite selection of Ottoman textiles comprises important velvets, brocades and silks including a large Ottoman silk and metal-thread brocade (Kemha), Turkey, late 16th/17th century (est. £40,000-60,000/$49,000-74,000), and an Ottoman silk and metal-thread brocade panel, Turkey, circa 1600 (est. £30,000-50,000/$37,000-61,000)

Other highlights include a gem-set and enamelled gold necklace, North India, 19th century (est. £30,000-40,000/$37,000-49,000), an illuminated Qur’an juz’ (XVIII), Turkey, Ottoman, early 15th century (est. £15,000-25,000/$18,000-31,000); and an Arabian saif with gold hilt and mounted scabbard, Arabian Peninsula, 19th century (est. £8,000-12,000/$9,900-15,000).


Orientalism was essentially a 19th-century phenomenon. While many other movements in 19th-century European art were relatively short-lived, Orientalism's durability lay in its versatility. Travelling from America and Europe to the lands known collectively in the 18th and 19th centuries as the Orient, artists aimed to capture sites, cultures and the bright desert light that few had experienced before. Orientalist art sheds light on the history of these lands – encompassing Morocco in the west through Egypt, Istanbul and the Levant to as Far East as Persia and India – from a time when photography was in its infancy and figurative art was not traditionally practised.

Top works on offer include Eugène Girardet’s A desert caravan (est. £100,000-150,000/$123,000-184,000); Rudolf Ernst’s The Fortune Teller, Cairo (est. £80,000-120,000/$98,000-147,000), which is appearing at auction for the first time; and Eugène Baugniès, The Dhikr (est. £80,000-120,000/$98,000-147,000), which depicts a Sufi ceremony in great detail.  


Honouring the history of jewellery design and its most discerning collections, Sotheby’s New York sale of Magnificent Jewels is led by renowned jewels with exceptional provenance. With an impressive selection of diamonds in various hues, the auction is a vibrant celebration perfect for spring. 

On sale will be fancy vivid green diamond ring (est. $1-1.5 million); a fancy gray-blue diamond ring, circa 1930 (est. $750,000-1 million); an emerald and diamond necklace (est. $150,000-200,000); an amethyst and diamond necklace and earclips by Van Cleef & Arpels (est. $100,000-150,000); and a yellow sapphire and diamond necklace and earclips (est. $75,000-100,000).


Offering the finest vintage and modern timepieces, Sotheby’s London sale of Watches includes rare and importance pieces by renowned watch makers. These include:

Patek Philippe - a perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with registers, moon-phases and leap year indication, circa 2010 (est. £70,000-100,000/$-86,000-123,000)

George Daniels – a white gold automatic centre seconds wristwatch with date and Daniels slim co-axial escapement, Millennium 1999 (est. £80,000-120,000/$98,000-147,000).

Rolex a stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with registrars and bracelet, circa 1971 (est. £80,000-120,000/$98,000-147,000).

The exhibition will take place at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and is open to the public (from 10 am to 8 pm on all days except the last two, when it closes at 5 pm) with events ranging from gallery tours to a book launch with Rose Issa and Juliet Cestar in conversation about their book Signs of our Times

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