Egyptian painting fetches over $2m at Christie's Dubai

Landmark auction triples its pre-sale estimate by realising a total of $15,122,125.
TOP BIDS: William Lawrie leads the sale of Mahmoud Saids maasterpiece. (Photo by Christies)
By Elsa Baxter
Wed 28 Apr 2010 11:06 AM

A new world auction record for the Egyptian artist Mahmoud Said was set at Christie’s in Dubai on Tuesday when his 1934 piece ‘Les Chadouf’s’ fetched $2,434,500.

The landmark sale of International Modern and Contemporary Art tripled its pre-sale estimate by realising a total of $15,122,125, in what was an “extremely rare” sale.

Twenty six works of art sold for more than $100,000, but it was Said’s ‘Les Chadoufs’ that became the auction’s highlight.

The painting, one of the artist’s finest which depicts men drawing water from a well, claimed the auction’s top price and set a new record for any modern painting by a Middle Eastern artist.

The piece was part of 25 works from the collection of Dr Mohammed Said Farsi, the well known patron of arts and former major of Jeddah, which all sold, realising a total of $8,705,250.  

William Lawrie, director of contemporary Middle Eastern art and head of sale, said: “It is a tribute to his taste and the strength of the market that these works achieved such spectacular prices tonight.

“The energy in the sale room was palpable and it will be a night that everybody at Christie’s and in the Middle Eastern collecting community will remember for some years.”  

Jussi Pylkkänen, president of Christie's Middle East and Europe, said: “Where we had seen Iranian works steal the limelight in recent seasons, tonight it was the turn of the great Egyptian artists such as Mahmoud Said, Mahmoud Mokhtar, Hamed Nada and Abdul Hadi El-Gazzar.

“We now fully understand what can happen in our Dubai sale room when we offer the very best from the significant artistic communities in the region.”

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