Mon, Mar 13, 2017

Art & Auctions
Sotheby’s celebrates with Dubai office launch

Global auction house in Sotheby’s opens its Dubai office and gallery today.

The opening of Sotheby’s Dubai, at the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC), will be held under the patronage of Minister of Culture & Knowledge Development Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Nahyan in the presence of Sotheby’s President & CEO Tad Smith and Sotheby’s Chairman for the Middle East Edward Gibbs

“This past Saturday was Sotheby's 273rd birthday, and we are proud to celebrate this and our 40 years of service to clients in the Middle East by opening our new gallery and office space within the Dubai International Financial Centre," said Smith. "The Middle East, and especially the UAE, has grown and prospered at an extraordinary pace. Sotheby's footprint in Dubai brings three centuries of history and expertise, and we look forward to contributing to an even greater future together on this fulcrum of the world's jewellery, art, and luxury car markets."

Gibbs adds: “As our company evolves to meet the needs of every aspect of the art and luxury market globally, we’ve seen particular traction with our Middle Eastern clients. Our Dubai office enhances our ability to serve our fast-growing community of clients across the region and is geared to broadening the scope of what we offer to a whole new audience. Acquiring outstanding works of art, jewels or collectibles that we bring to the market is a thrilling quest, and we are delighted to be part of that journey both globally and locally."

The launch of Sotheby’s Dubai follows year-on-year growth in the number of Middle Eastern client participating in the company’s global sales, resulting in a 30 per cent increase in the number of buyers from the region over the last five years. 

Jewellery, Contemporary art, Impressionist & Modern and Old Master Paintings have driven this trajectory, while sales of Middle Eastern art have also grown, with an increase of 41 per cent in the value spent by clients in the region in the period of 2015 to 2016 alone.

All of Sotheby’s auctions are open to online bidding, with almost 20 per cent of purchases across the business made online in 2016. This gateway into the company’s offerings has gained significant traction with Middle Eastern clients, and in the last five years Sotheby’s has seen and an increase of 47 per cent in the value they’ve spent online.

This year Sotheby’s launched a new Luxury & Lifestyle Division, uniting the categories of jewellery, watches, wine, cars and experiences, as well as the relationship with Sotheby’s International Realty. Jewellery is a particular area of focus for Sotheby’s Middle Eastern clients, where there has been an increase of 46 per cent in their spend from 2015 to 2016.

Marking the launch of Sotheby’s Dubai, the company’s largest and most wide-ranging exhibition in Dubai to date will be unveiled in its gallery today.

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

The exhibition will be open to the public from tomorrow until March 19 from 10 am to 8 pm.

Notable exhibition highlights include:

• Seminal works by important female artists from Fahrelnissa Zeid and Madiha Omar to Samia Halaby and Monir Farmanfarmaian and a museum-quality work by modern master Bahman Mohasess.

• One of the most important watches ever to be offered at auction – the legendary Patek Philippe Yellow-Gold Calibre 89, which is offered for sale with an estimate of $6.4-9.9 million. 

• Historic Islamic works of art spanning thousands of years. 

• One of the world’s great treasures – the largest internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond known as The Pink Star – will also be on view to mark the opening of the Dubai office.

An expanded programme of year-round events will be held in the new gallery, 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.

Sotheby’s Dubai is the latest addition to the company’s global network of 80 offices across 40 countries.

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