Middle East & India Week Brings £13.6 Million at Sotheby's London
61% of Lots Sold Across the Week Achieved Prices Above Their High Estimates Driven by Participation from 54 Countries and the Significant Number of Buyers New to These Collecting Categories & New to Sotheby’s
Edward Gibbs, Sotheby’s Middle East & India Chairman, said: “Sotheby’s Arts of the Middle East & India week offers a clear picture of the depth and breadth of this area of the art market, and how it continues to evolve in exciting ways year on year. The visitors drawn to our London galleries in the thousands this past week to view the exquisite art and objects, spanning these continents and historic eras, is testament not only to their broad market appeal, but also the important hub that London represents for these collecting categories. The week has been punctuated by benchmark prices achieved in each of the week’s sales, and characterised by the wonderful collection of Howard Hodgkin featuring so fittingly. The chapter is yet to be closed on this season’s offerings and the market’s strength. We now look to our inaugural Boundless: Dubai in just a couple of weeks’ time with great anticipation, when a further rich offering with a truly global appeal lies in store.”
A vibrant international platform for modern and contemporary arts spanning an array of countries and regions, Sotheby’s 20th Century Art / Middle East auction totalled £2,082,250 / $2,748,570 (est. £1,652,000-2,251,000), with a sell through rate of 75.4% and 47% of the works selling for above their pre-sale high estimates.
The top lot of the sale was an exceptional example from poet and painter Sohrab Sepehri’s rhythmic and masterful Tree Series, which sold for £272,750 / $360,030. Profoundly influenced by Oriental philosophies, Sepehri combined a spiritual inclination with a strong understanding of Persian art and culture. A seminal painting from 1965 by one of Iran’s greatest modern masters Bahman Mohasses, a subversive depiction of a cavalier on a horse, doubled its pre-sale estimates to bring £212,500 / $280,000.
The auction saw a record for Egyptian Surrealist painter Antoine Malliarakis Mayo, as La Vie Augmente Toujours sold for £62,500 / $82,500 – exceeding expectations by over six times. Two further works by the artist were offered, with both also selling for above their pre-sale estimates. The legacy of the artist and his fellow revolutionaries was celebrated earlier this year with an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. A further record was achieved for pioneering Egyptian female artist Gazbia Sirry as well as a benchmark for the leading painter of Egyptian Social Realism Hamed Owais.
This brings the total for Modern and Contemporary Arab and Iranian art sold at Sotheby’s London in 2017 so far to £5,576,750 / $7,223,277, to be followed by Boundless: Dubai on 13 November (estimated to fetch £2,629,500-3,660,000).
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