Last night Dubai’s art connoisseurs gathered together for the auction of modern and contemporary Middle Eastern and Iranian art including 25 masterpieces from the collection of Saudi Arabian collector, Dr. Mohamed Said Farsi. The auction achieved a total of $15,122,125 million greatly surpassing the pre-sale total of $4.3 million.
From the collection of Dr. Farsi, Les Chadoufs (1934) by Egyptian painter Mahmoud Said went for a total of $2.43 million making it the highlight of the evening. The oil painting had a pre-sale estimate of $150,000- $200,000. It depicts a desert landscape with men workers dressed in turbans and statuesque veiled women carrying jars upon their heads recalling Egypt’s Pharonic and Islamic history. It was reportedly the most expensive work of art by an Arab artist to ever be auction by Christie’s Dubai.
A key feature of the evening were the masterpieces from the collection of Dr. Farsi. Undoubtedly one of the most important collections of Egyptian modern art of its kind, Dr. Farsi collected his artwork over decades and had a particular love for residing in Egypt especially in the enchanting atmosphere of Alexandria. Dr. Farsi served as Mayor of the Sea Port City of Jeddah from 1972 to 1986. Among his many accomplishments include the installation of sculptures by internationally acclaimed masters including Joan Miro, Henry Moore, Salah Abdulkarim and Aref El-Rayes throughout the city.
The auction sold 86% of the works offered and also included works by Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli whose work Oh Persepolis sold for $2.84 million in 2008 setting the record for Iranian art at auction.
Yesterday was a landmark sale for Middle East art. Such success underlines the strength and potential of the region for the international art market as well as the confidence of great patrons of the arts such as Dr. Farsi to entrust his magnificent collection to Christie’s Dubai.