Christie's first Mideast auction exceeds expectations
By Alexandra Pironti May 25, 2006, 17:01 GMT
Dubai - Christie's first international auction in the Middle East, held in the wealthy emirate of Dubai, has exceeded expectations with sales totalling 8.5 million dollars.
The auction Wednesday evening saw more than 500 elegantly dressed locals and expats fill the saleroom at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel, where the world's leading auction house put on sale over 120 works of art from the Arab world, Iran, India, Pakistan and the West.
'This auction was the first phase in our plan to develop a broader profile within the Middle East and exceeded our expectation in terms of the prices achieved and the incredibly enthusiastic response from our new clients in the region,' said Edward Dolman, Chief Executive Officer, Christie's International.
'I was particularly delighted to see Europeans, Asians and Americans competing fiercely by phone for the best works in the sale,' said Jusy Pylkkanen, President of Christie's Europe and Middle East.
Christie's gave the buyer breakdown at 53 per cent from the Middle East, 23 per cent from Europe, 11 per cent from the Americas, 11 per cent from Asia and 2 per cent elsewhere. On the Middle East buyers, 80 per cent were from the United Arab Emirates.
But most of the buyers choose to be anonymous and many were making their bids by phone with a representative sitting in the auction.
A major highlight of the evening was a work by the Egyptian artist Ahmed Moustafa, born in 1943. Orbits of Praise, estimated at between 100,000 and 200,000 dollars, was sold at 240,000 dollars, establishing a new world record price at auction for the artist.
Additional leading works by Egyptian artists included Chant Avedissian's Icons of the Nile which sold for 48,000 dollars.
Other works included Lebanese artist Paul Guiragossian's Spring Festival which sold for 64,000 dollars, also establishing a new world record for the artist.
Among Iraqi artists, the auction sold powerful works by renowned painters including Dia al-Azzawi, born in Iraq in 1939, whose Oriental Taqsim in Red sold for 45,600 dollars.
Works of art from Iran were equally highly sought by collectors and record prices were established for artists Mohsen Vasiri, Massoud Arabshahi, Farhad Moshiri, Sadegh Tabrizi and Fatemeh Emdadian, among others.
But the biggest highlight of the evening was the Modern and Comtemporary Indian Art sale. Top prices achieved were in this section that totaled 6 million dollars and saw eight new artist records.
Dubai, a crossroads of cultures made up of 80 per cent of foreigners has a rich Indian community, as well as wealthy Westerners, Iranians and Pakistanis.
The top lot of the sale as well as the Indian section was a work by Rameshwar Broota, born in 1941. Titled Number, the painting sold amid applause from the public for 912,000 dollars, a record price for the artist at auction.
The painting depicts three proto-human figures against a dark monochromatic backdrop.
Western artists were also represented. Highlights included Andy Warhol's Double Mona Lisa that realized 192,000 dollars.
Christie's Dubai was established in April last year and is the only auction house currently in the Middle East region.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur