Christie’s cleared $4.8 million in Dubai yesterday selling 116 of the 151 works it offered in the sale of Modern Contemporary Arabian and Iranian art. That’s a 77% sell-through rate though the sale total is down by almost half from the last similar auction that Christie’s held there. The good news is that the previous auction missed estimates badly where this one was within the range. Here’s how Bloomberg tells it:
The most expensive lot was Parviz Tanavoli’s “The Wall and the Script”, a bronze sculpture enveloped in Farsi script that sold for $218,500, compared with a $120,000-$180,000 estimate. A year ago, Tanavoli’s sculpture “The Wall (Oh Persepolis)” sold for 10 times as much, fetching a record $2.84 million in Dubai. Christies had estimated the art sale would tally $4.1 million to $5.9 million.
“Buyers are still active and works represent good value with re-adjusted estimates which still represent multiples of values of 2 to 3 years ago,” said Michael Jeha, managing director of Christie’s Middle East, in an e-mailed response to questions before the sale. “We have pitched our estimates conservatively and are sensitive to the environment in which we and our clients are operating.”