The National covers Sotheby’s London sales of Orientalist and 20th Century Middle Eastern art. The two sales reach nearly identical totals of £3.38m for Orientalist art and £3.49m in 20th Century Middle Eastern art.
The Orientalist sale had an 80% sell-through rate and came in below the estimate range. The 20th Century sale had 88% sell-through and came in with a total well-above the aggregate high estimate.
Sotheby’s Orientalist and Middle Eastern Art Week in London came to a close last week with several artist records set and an increase of buyers from the MENA region of 23%.
Last month, several of the top lots were on display in Dubai to mark the opening of Sotheby’s new office and gallery space in DIFC. Of those, the top lot of the sale was the six metre long Towards A Sky, by Fahrelnissa Zeid. The sprawling abstract, geometric work sold for US$1,271,216 (approx. Dh4.4m), which is notable ahead of the artist’s retrospective opening at the Tate Modern in June. One of the most influential female Turkish artists, Zeid kept a photograph of this painting in a frame at her bedside until she passed away and this was the first time that it had appeared on the market since it was last exhibited in 1957.
A rare work by one of Iran’s greatest modern masters Bahman Mohasses tripled the artist’s world record at auction selling for US$748,772 (approx. Dh2.7m) and the auction also saw a record for pioneering female figure of Iraqi modernism Madiha Omar, as The Flying Saucers, from 1958 sold for US$48,019 (Dh176,000). The stunning portrait by Mahmoud Said’s Portrait de Mme. Batanouni Bey was acquired for the collection of the soon to be opened Halim Museum of Time & Glass in Chicago selling for US$502,916 (approx. Dh1.8m)