More on Orientalism. Forbes discovers the popularity of the style among Middle Eastern buyers.
In 2008 Orientalist works grossed $70 million at auction worldwide, an eightfold increase from 2004, partly a reflection of the auction houses’ decision to add more sales to the calendar. In March Sotheby’s introduced its first Orientalist sale in Doha, Qatar. Last May an Orientalist session at Sotheby’s in London brought in $16 million for 90 works, setting records for ten artists.
Leading the charge of newly appreciative Orientalist collectors: Shafik Gabr, 56, the Cairo chief of Artoc Group, Egypt’s largest private developer, with $1 billion in annual sales. Gabr’s collection of 96 Orientalist pieces, accumulated over the last 15 years, is probably worth at least $40 million. Gabr first attracted FORBES’ attention when a Dubai publication described him as a billionaire. (Maybe he was before the recession arrived; now, we figure, his net worth is around $700 million.)
Embracing the Past (Forbes)