Expectation setting is as much part of the game in auctions as it is in politics. Reuters does a wrap up of Christie’s sales in Dubai focusing on the work of Saudi doctor and artist Ahmed Mater Aseeri and Syrian artist Fateh Moudarres. Meanwhile, dealers, collectors and auctioneers in the Gulf all emphasize the same thing: it’s a buyer’s market and that’s a good thing.
“Prices have gone down of course because there’s a crisis, but what’s important is that people are buying, which shows that interest in Middle Eastern art is still firm,” said Saleh Barakat, owner of an art gallery in Beirut who sold a number of pieces at the auction last week. [ . . . ] Michael Jeha, managing director of Christie’s Middle East, told Reuters it was now “definitely a buyer’s market.”
“There are works collectors couldn’t get before because they were priced out of the market by a lot of the speculators. Now the collectors are back in and they see a lot of opportunity to buy great works at great prices,” Jeha said. An Emirati buyer at the auction, who asked to remain anonymous, said prices had come down to “reasonable” levels.