The Tehran Auction, which debuted in 2012 with a white glove sale, returned last month though only now is a report from the AP getting wide circulation and attention. One problem with the sale is the lack of reliable information. The video from PressTV above says there were 92 works in the sale; the AP says 80 (The Tehran Times says 82) and that it was the second consecutive white glove sale. Everyone agrees that about $2m was spent with the top lot coming from Sohrab Sepeheri and selling to Pasargad Bank which has already bought 140 works for a planned museum:
For one glimmering moment late last month, the Iranian capital was the talk of the world’s art market after 80 works sold for $2 million, astonishing a country whose economy is battered by Western sanctions but still has pockets of wealth looking for investment havens for their money. […]
A photo by Jamshid Bayrami on the hajj, or Islamic pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, was sold for about $6,000. Bayrami’s works have been sold previously at Sotheby’s auctions in London and Qatar.
“Many know that investment cannot be limited to real estate, gold and carpets,” the photographer said. “It also shows the strength of Iranian art lovers and artists.”
The manager of the auction, Ali Reza Samei Azar, said he had hoped to top last year’s auction that brought in $1.3 million, but the sinking economy initially made him think they “were dreaming.”
“We rarely see the sale of 100 percent of artworks in international auctions,” Samei Azar gushed after the 3 1/2-hour event on June 28. “Iranian society has shown that art can be an investment.”
He described many of the buyers as “young and Western educated.”
“It was exciting,” Samei Azar said. “One-third of buyers were new buyers. It shows the growth potential for Iran’s art market.”