The most extensive selection of museum-quality
modern Middle Eastern art ever offered at auction
International Modern & Contemporary Art
Including Masterpieces from the Collection of Dr. Mohammed Said Farsi
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
Sponsored by Credit Suisse
Dubai – Christie’s will offer 25 masterpieces from the Collection of Dr. Mohammed Said Farsi at the auction of International Modern and Contemporary Art on 27 April 2010 in Dubai. While serving first as Mayor and then as Lord Mayor of Jeddah in the 1970s and 1980s, Dr. Farsi was instrumental in making the city one of the largest open-air galleries in the world and in highlighting international art in the Middle East region; Jeddah boasts sculptures by Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Hans Arp and Alexander Calder, among others. Dr. Farsi was deeply influenced by Egypt where he attended the University of Alexandria, and during his lifetime he has assembled the most important private collection of Modern Egyptian art, from which 25 works will be offered at Christie’s in April.
Jussi Pylkkanen, President of Christie’s Europe and Middle East: “We are honoured to be offering at auction a selection of masterpieces from such a distinguished collection. Dr. Farsi is renowned throughout the Middle East for his appreciation and promotion of the visual arts, and this shines through in his own collection which represents the greatest group of modern Egyptian art in private hands.”
William Lawrie, Specialist, Modern and Contemporary Arab and Iranian Art and Head of Sale: “We very much look very forward to exhibiting 25 works from this celebrated collection to the public in April, and to the auction which will be one of the most significant events to date for the auction market for Middle Eastern art.”
Dr. Mohammed Said Farsi is one of the world’s great patrons of the visual arts. In 1956 he was one of only 35 students from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent abroad for further education. Having obtained a BA in Architecture and Town Planning from the University of Alexandria in Egypt, where he developed a passion for contemporary Egyptian art, he returned to Saudi Arabia and in 1972 became the Mayor of Jeddah. In 1980 he became Lord Mayor of Jeddah. As the city profited from oil revenue and the population grew substantially, Dr. Farsi oversaw the installation of a number of monumental sculptures by celebrated international and Middle Eastern artists including Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Hans Arp, Salah Abdulkarim, Aref El-Rayess and Alexander Calder, among others, creating one of the largest open-air galleries in the world.
Dr. Farsi’s private collection is recognized as the most comprehensive group of modern Egyptian art in private hands. Prompted by the experience of his time in Alexandria as a student, Dr. Farsi became the driving force in the Egyptian art scene and his collection became the first of its type to be fully documented with the publication of ‘A Museum in a Book: The Farsi Art Collection – the “Egyptian Works” owned by Dr. Mohammed Said Farsi’ by the critic and scholar Dr. Sobhy Sharouny (published 1998).
The group of 25 works to be offered at Christie’s in Dubai include works representing many of Egypt’s most famous 20th century artists including Mahmoud Mokhtar, Mahmoud Said, Ragheb Ayad, Abul Hadi El-Gazzar, Hamed Nada, Seif and Adham Wanly, Adam Henein, Inji Efflatoun and Tahia Halim.
The leading highlight is Les Chadoufs, 1934, a spectacular early work by Mahmoud Said (Egyptian, 1897-1964) (estimate: $150,000 to $200,000) (illustrated right). The artist is also represented with four additional works including the stunning view of Sails on the Nile (estimate: $80,000 to $120,000) and View of the Bekaa Valley (estimate: $80,000 to $120,000). Six magnificent works by Hamed Nada (1924-1990) including three large masterpieces are led by Henna Eve (estimate: $120,000 to $180,000) (illustrated right). Illustrated on the cover of Liliane Karnouk's important book Modern Egyptian Art 1910-2003, this work features a uniquely distorted sense of perspective, with its bird's eye view of two musicians contrasting with the other figures.
The auction will offer four rare works by Abdel Hadi El-Gazzar (1925-1965), including two works from his most sought-after middle period when the artist explored the mysterious world of folklore, superstition and myth. Cosmorama (estimate: $60,000 to $80,000) shows a mobile peep show (cosmorama) surrounded by circus performers, and The Strangers (estimate: $70,000 to $100,000) (illustrated right), explores the amibiguous relationship between real and imagined communication.
When Meeting the Man by Mahmoud Mokhtar (1891-1934) (estimate: $40,000 to $60,000) is one of the artist’s most expressive works in bronze (illustrated right). Rough in texture, the shrouded figure shields her face before meeting her beloved. With his neo-Pharaonic style which merged ancient forms with contemporary figures, Mahmoud Mokhtar was Egypt's first modern artist and arguably the first truly modern artist in the Arab world. Face of a Nubian Girl by Tahia Halim (1919-2003) (estimate: $30,000 to $40,000) is an exceptional example of the artist’s Nubian period, revealing her tangible affection for her subject. This painting features on the cover of Dr. Sobhy Sharouny's recent publication on the artist.
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