Wednesday 16 June 2021

Christie’s to hold Middle Eastern art sale in London

DUBAI/LONDON, August 27, 2019

Christie’s third ‘Middle Eastern Modern & Contemporary Art’ auction to take place outside of Dubai will be held on October 23 and is included as part of the rich and traditional Islamic Art Week in London.

Around 90 works of Middle Eastern art have been consigned from around the globe, including Los Angeles, New York, London, Dubai, Paris, Beirut, Buenos Aires, Milan, Perth, Casablanca, among others.

The auction is mainly focused on modern Arab and Iranian works, with an emphasis on contemporary practice.

“A diversity of mediums, subject matter, geographies, and sale estimates characterize Christie’s third Middle East art sale in London, providing a global platform for art and artists from this ever-evolving region,” said Hala Khayat, Christie’s director and head of Sale in the Middle East.

“From masterworks by some of Iran, Egypt, and Syria’s most celebrated artists to contemporary pieces from emerging talents, there is something compelling for every collector.”

A work by the late Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (1924-2019 – illustrated above), one of Iran’s most celebrated artists who passed just this April 2019, will highlight the auction. Executed in 2008, Untitled (Faravahar Wings, Zarathustra) is a beautiful and rare masterpiece inspired by the wings of Faravahar, which is one of the most common symbols of the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism.

Kaleidoscopic in its magnificent form, the work depicts a series of triangular mirrors that reflects light in every direction, touching upon the concept of the fravashi, which is part of the human soul acting as a divine blessing and entirely good.

Standing in front of the work, the viewer can admire the abstracted and simplified version of the Faravahar, as Farmanfarmaian has broken it down to its foundational essence (estimate: £240,000-400,000).The inclusion of Farmanfarmaian’s piece in the auction coincides with major exhibitions of her work this year at the Sharjah Art Foundation and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. In 2017 a dedicated museum to the artist opened in Tehran in 2017.

A group of five works by the Palestinian modernist Ismail Shammout (1930-2006) will also be offered by two different collections, which includes the featured work here, The Way, along with a few nice watercolours from the acclaimed Tall Al Zaater series.

Painted in 1964 and consigned from a private Italian collection, The Way (estimate: £50,000-70,000), was previously exhibited in Berlin’s National Galerie in the 1970s, reflecting the artist’s international recognition.

The work reflects the tone of the dramatic and tragic events unfolding in Palestine during the 1950s and 60s. Viewed as a whole, the profiles create a melancholic, aggrieved tone. The depicted men and women decisively appear to advance together, moving forward, towards the viewer, in constructing a visual narrative of Palestinian nationalism.

Activities for collectors and patrons scheduled during Christie’s Middle East and Iranian art week in London include book launches, gallery talks, and private tours.

A discussion with Syrian contemporary artist, Sara Shamma, a previous National Portrait Gallery BP prize-winner, whose 2016Self-Portrait (estimate: £12,000-18,000) is being offered in the October 23 auction, will take place on October 21. – TradeArabia News Service


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