Published: April 24, 2007
Christie’s second international modern and contemporary art auction conducted in Dubai, on February 1, exceeded its presale expectations, totaling $9,417,560.
Together with the results of its first sale of contemporary jewels and watches on January 31, the collective total for Christie’s sales in Dubai was brought to $21,232,440.
Conducted at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, the auction offered 190 lots from leading Arab, Iranian, Indian and Western artists. The sale was 92 percent sold by lot and 86 percent sold by value, with 39 percent of buyers from the UAE. The sale saw 51 new artist records established.
“The atmosphere in the sale room was positively electric,” commented Jussi Pylkkanen, president of Christie’s Europe and the Middle East, after auctioneering the sale. “It was fantastic to see so many new, as well as established, clients from the region bidding fiercely against international buyers. This is already a strong contemporary market where Middle Eastern collectors are prepared to pay very competitive prices for the best Middle Eastern art. This sale also saw a very strong Indian presence in the room and some high prices for the international works in the sale. Christie’s is delighted with this outstanding result and we look forward to returning to the Jumeirah Emirates Towers in the autumn.”
Will Lawrie commented, “As an expert in Middle Eastern art, I was particularly delighted by the excellent results of two paintings by the UAE’s own artist, Abdul Kadir Al-Raes, whose work, ‘Yesteryear,’ was the subject of fierce bidding, which caused it to soar well above its presale estimate of $40/60,000 and achieved an astounding $262,400. The other piece offered by Al Raes, untitled, fetched $96,000, three times its presale estimate. The Iranian section also performed extremely well, in many cases, quadrupling presale estimates.”
The refined “Meem Tha Alif” by Ali Omar Ermes sold for $93,600. A calligraphic work titled “Expending in God’s Cause” by Ahmed Moustafa who, in the 2006 inaugural sale, smashed auction records for work of art by an Arab artist, achieved $180,000.
Contemporary Indian art also formed a section of this sale. According to Yamini Mehta, head of Modern and contemporary Indian art, “The Indian portion of the sale was 94 percents sold, totaling $4.1 million. We are thrilled that the top lot in the sale, which was featured on the back cover, did extremely well and sold for $441,600. The vibrant red untitled (Woman and Horses) attracted numerous bidders as local part-time resident and 92-year-old artist Maqbool Fida Husain graced the auction room with his presence.”
Another highlight of the Indian section was a large and important work by the Modernist painter Syed Haider Raza, titled “Rajput House,” an oil on panel painted in 1965‶6, that realized $307,200.
Among the Western artists, highlights included an untitled work by Sam Francis, which fetched $419,200, and Andy Warhol’s “Dollar Sign,” which realized $216,000.
Rounding out the sale’s top ten lots were Ram Kumar (Indian, b 1924), untitled, 1968, oil on canvas, $329,600; Jagdish Swaminathan (Indian, 1928‱993), untitled, 1976, $240,000; Ram Kumar, untitled landscape, $216,000; Syed Haider Raza (India, b 1922), “Lumière d’Eté,” 1958, $204,000; and Ahmed Moustafa (Egyptian, b 1943), “Al-Bayt al-Ma’muur (Landscape of the Long-Enduring House of Worship),” 2006, $180,000.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, 20 7839 9060 or www.Christies.com .
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