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Thu 27 Apr 2017 12:39 PM

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Orientalist & Middle Eastern art week brings in $15.7m

Strong interest in Middle Eastern art has led to continuous support by museums, which bought in each of the three sales by British auction house Sotheby’s

Orientalist & Middle Eastern art week brings in $15.7m
Mahmoud Saïd, Portrait de Madame Batanouni Bey, 1923

A group of three sales dedicated to art created in the Islamic world, held as part of Sotheby's Orientalist and Middle Eastern Art Week, have resulted in $15.7million in auction sales.

Over half of the 236 lots sold exceeded their pre-sale high estimates, according to the British auction house.

One of the lots, an Ottoman panel from the collection of Argine Benaki-Salvago, sold at $1.4m.

Six artist records were also achieved across the sales including for works by Iranian modernist Bahman Mohasses, Egyptian Surrealist Fouad Kamel and 19th-century Bohemian painter Georg Emanuel Opiz.

Jean Lecomte du Nouy, The Sentinel

There was strong private and institutional interest in Middle Eastern art throughout the auction, with museums buying in each of the three sales, according to Sotheby’s Middle East & India Chairman Edward Gibbs.

Gibbs said the latter is a true reflection of the historical importance of the Middle Eastern lots on offer.

The auctions were Sotheby’s first since the opening of its Dubai office, which was fuelled by a 23 per cent increase in buyers from the MENA region.

The Arts of the Islamic World auction presents rare objects that tell the story of over a thousand years of artistic exchange in the region.

Sotheby’s latest edition was led by works from prestigious collections, bringing an above-estimate total of $7.8m.

One of the auction’s highlights, an Ottoman textile piece, achieved a world auction price for $1.4m. It was created by Benaki-Salvago, a grande dame of Alexandrian society, in the 1930s. Her celebrated collection epitomises the richness and diversity of Ottoman courtly taste from the 16th century onwards.

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