Christie’s Dubai auction of Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art held at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers this past Tuesday brought in a total of $7,980,875 (AED 29,305,773) and set 42 new world auction records for Middle Eastern artists. The highlight of the sale was a group of 6 works from Edge of Arabia which were sold for $1,051,000 (AED 3,859,272) against a pre-sale estimate of around $135,000. The money raised will go to Edge of Arabia’s Education Program to help bring art workshops to universities and schools in Saudi Arabia.
Top works from Edge of Arabia included Message/ Messenger by Abdulnasser Gharem which sold for $842,500 (AED 3,093,660) more than ten times its original estimate and Ayman Yossri Daydban’s Wasat Al Halaba which sold for $27,500 (AED 100,980).
Apart from Edge of Arabia other top selling lots included Fishing by Egyptian modern master Abdul Hadi El-Gazzar (1925-1965) which sold for $746,500 (AED 2,741,148) from an estimate of $250,000-350,000; an early wood sculpture of a figure by the Iraqi artist Jewad Selim (1921-1961) also selling for $662,500 (AED 2,432,700); and Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom by young Lebanese artist Ayman Baalbaki (b. 1975) which was bought for $206,500 (AED 758,268) after a round of bids heated against an estimate of $50,000-70,000.
“Records tumbled in a standing-room-only saleroom, reflecting the increasing international appeal and quality of art from the Middle East. We were delighted to add 42 records to the 318 already established by Christie’s sales in the Middle East since 2006,” said Michael Jeha, Managing Director of Christie’s Middle East.