Dubai – A giant bear carrying the artist depicted as a sleeping child, by the leading Iranian contemporary artist, Farhad Moshiri, leads Christie’s Dubai sale of Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish art, to be held on April 16 and 17, 2013. Among the other 28 lots in the part I sale are works by Saliba Douaihy, Sohrab Sepehri, Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, Chafic Abboud, Louay Kayyali, Fateh Moudarres, Paul Guiragossian, Parviz Tanavoli, Adel El-Siwi, Lalla Essaydi, Nadim Karam and Murat Pulat representing Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Morocco and Turkey. This sale will be complimented by the part II sale which includes works by around 90 artists, more than 20 of whom are represented in an international auction for the first time. Christie’s Dubai sales are sponsored by Zurich.
Michael Jeha, Managing Director of Christie’s in the Middle East, said: “This will be our 15 sale season in Dubai, confirming our commitment to hold regular sales in the region of art from the region which began with our first sale seven years ago. We are the only international auction house to hold sales exclusively in this category in the Middle East and are proud of our part in encouraging international collectors to recognise the quality of the modern and more established contemporary masters while at the same time supporting the emerging artists by exposing their work to an international marketplace. By aligning these two strategies with our regular part I and part II format, we continue to be encouraged by the solidity in this market and the sustainable way it has matured".
The elaborate work by Farhad Moshiri which carries the highest estimate in the sale is richly embellished with metallic and glitter paint, beads, nails, showing a giant bear made entirely of light-reflecting crystals, cradling a sleeping child through a fantasy landscape. This mixed-media technique, so typical of Moshiri’s work, provides a sharp contrast between the almost fairy-tale childhood memory of the dreaming boy and the slightly sinister undertone of the jarring colours and textures. It carries an estimate of $300,000-500,000.
Two captivating paintings by the celebrated Lebanese artist, Saliba Douaihy (1910-1994) painted around 1970 and acquired directly from the artist by the present owner’s father, depict the abstract artist’s striking use of colour in his recollections of the Lebanese landscapes of his childhood. The darker palette work is estimated at $30,000-40,000 while the predominantly electric blue composition is valued at $40,000-60,000. Another abstract work in the sale is by the Iranian Sohrab Sepehri (1928-1980) from the celebrated Abstract Series of which only 10-12 works are known, most in public collections, estimate $150,000-200,000.
A work by fellow Iranian Charles Hossein Zenderoudi (born 1937) is also offered for sale for the first time, as with the pair of Douaihy’s. Offered from the collection of Rodolphe Stadler, the artist’s Parisian gallerist in the 1970s, is the richly coloured calligraphic work, TCH + TCH +TCHH from 1972, (estimate $120,000-180,000 – shown here).
Another key work in the sale is a sculpture by Parviz Tanavoli (Iranian, b. 1937) Poet and Key (estimate $100,000-150,000) which refers to the sacred fountains and shrines found in Iranian buildings. The zarih or tomb within the shrine is suggested by the grill at the top of the bronze sculpture and a key, a symbol often used in this context, are both elements picked out within the piece in polished bronze.
Two exclusive works from Lalla Essaydi’s latest series, sold to raise funds for a monograph of her work, are highly covetable examples of the Moroccan-born artist’s photographic works challenging notions of female identity and womanhood in the Islamic world. Bullets Revisited #3 (detail shown here) and Harem Revisited #33 (each estimated: $40,000-60,000), show a beautiful supine woman, draped in jewellery and heavily embellished textiles which on closer inspection are in fact decorated with bullet shells. This violent commentary is another manifestation of the artist’s interest in challenging the perceptions of Arabs and the Islamic world, within a traditional context (the harem).
Turkey is represented by an intriguing close-up of Eva Rosenberg, the main character from Ingmar Bergman’s film Shame, by Murat Pulat (born 1978). Highly charged political movies are often the inspiration for Pulat’s work and the heavily textured paintwork gives the piece a sculptural quality (estimate: $20,000-30,000).
Elsewhere in the sale is a joyful sculpture of a mystical creature made of mother of pearl buttons by Nadim Karam (Lebanese, b. 1957), which is estimated at $30,000-40,000 and a work by the Syrian artist Marwan (b.1934) Large Head (turned towards the right), painted in 1974, with an estimate of $80,000-120,000. This self-portrait is one of the most important works by the artist whose works rarely come up for sale at auction.
Hala Khayat, Christie’s Specialist and Head of Sale, concludes: “We have a really strong selection of works in the part I sale, highlights of which are covered in this release. In addition the part II sale will continue to offer works at more conservative price points and we look forward to continuing the momentum generated by Art Dubai which opens this month, by offering another season with works appropriately estimated and well edited, every one representing the art of the Middle East.”
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