Christie’s to Sell Lebanese Art to Benefit Mokbel Collection

This season, Christie’s Dubai is set to present an exceptional sale bringing together some of the finest works of art from leading collections in each country of the region. Notably, Christie’s will be offering 14 outstanding examples from artists such as Paul Guiragossian, Farid Aouad, Aref Al Rayess and Ayman Baalbaki from the Mokbel Art Collection, one of the most prestigious collections of Modern and Contemporary Lebanese art.

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The Mokbel Art Collection is a project dedicated to endorsing Lebanese art, showcasing the richness of Lebanese cultural heritage throughout the Middle East and beyond. Founded by Johnny & Nadine Mokbel in 1998, this collection started by acquiring hand-picked masterpieces and has now become a multinational project dedicated to supporting established Lebanese talent, as well as promoting new Lebanese artists as they seek international acknowledgment. In order to continue their efforts to promote Lebanese art on an international scale Johnny and Nadine have decided to part with 14 of their nearly 100 works of Lebanese art and have entrusted Christie’s with the sale of these in their spring auction of Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish art to be hold on 18 March at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel.

Over half of the 14 works of art offered from the collection are by Paul Guiragossian (1926-1993), Lebanon’s most acclaimed modern master, whose works can be found in many private collections as well as in the collection of the Vatican Museum in Rome.

Summer Day I and Summer Day II (above 1st and 2nd from left), both executed in 1992 were the first two paintings Mokbel bought back in 1998 directly from the Guiragossian family. In Summer Day I the paint captures a dense clumps of flowers caught by a slight breeze on a blazing hot summer’s day. Not only is Summer Day I surprising due to its overall brightness and luminosity, but also because of its daring, almost kaleidoscopic shifts in scale, hue and tonality (estimate: $40,000-60,000). Although the technique used in Summer Day II is similar to that of Summer Day I, here, large, flat, contrasting areas of vivid pigment are augmented by small dark accents and linear arabesques (estimate: $40,000-60,000).

Guiragossian’s strong belief in family forms one of the core elements of his work, and Mother and Child in Mandorla  (above 4th from left) from 1983-84, features the icon of the Mother and Child. The intensity of the picture is contained within the curves flowing through the superbly patterned blue headscarf of the first woman’s head, down to the left across the slit of her dress and up across the hem of the second woman’s robe, continuing up to the waist and back of the third woman, intentionally forming a protective mandorla – another signature of Guiragossian’s distinct style (estimate: $80,000-120,000).

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