Georgina Adam wants to know why Sotheby’s is carting a lot of art to Qatar only to sell it back to buyers in Europe and North America:
Sotheby’s held its yearly sale of contemporary art in Doha, Qatar, this week, making a lower-estimate $7.5m for 43 lots sold. The bidding was dominated by the telephones with Asian, American and European buyers accounting rather bafflingly for most of the top lots. Asked what was the point of selling western artists to westerners in Doha, Sotheby’s said it “sets out to attract an international spread of bidders and buyers”. A painting by Kour Pour, the hot young US-based artist whose work is inspired by carpets, sold for $162,500, well over its $70,000-$90,000 estimate, going to a US buyer. The sale was not without its bumps: on Bharti Kher’s “I’m Going This Way” (2006), a telephone failed and auctioneer Alex Rotter declared: “I’m going nowhere until we sell this.” But despite re-establishing the link later, the work failed to find a buyer.