US$6.4m of MidEast art sold off at auction

Millions of dollars of Arab, Iranian and Turkish art sold off at Christie's auction
US$6.4m of MidEast art sold off at auction
Mahmoud Saids Marsa Matrouh.
By Claire Valdini
Thu 19 Apr 2012 12:42 PM

Auction house Christie’s sold US$6.4m of modern and contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish at its two auctions in Dubai this week against a pre-sale estimate of US$6.1m, the London-based firm said Thursday.

Fateh Moudarress’s 1964 ‘Women at the Wedding’ sold for US$80,500, the highest grossing lot of the two-day sale while seven lots of work raised a combined US$46,300 for the World Food Programme.

Interest in contemporary Middle Eastern is continuing to grow, particularly for younger artists work, Michael Jeha, managing director of Christie’s Middle East and head of sale, said in a statement.

“The combined total for this, our 12 season in the Middle East, is an encouraging indication of the continuing maturity and long term strength within this market,” he said. “About a fifth of the artists represented in the part II sale Wednesday were being sold at auction for the first time and were under 35.”

The privately-owned auction house sold US$4m of art on Tuesday and US$2.4m on Wednesday, meeting pre-sale estimates.

The strong sales follow a hugely successful impressionist and modern evening sale in London in February. The auction house sold works worth GPB£97.8m (US157m) with most hitting or exceeding the optimistic pre-sale expectations.

Christie’s posted record revenues of GBP£3.6bn in 2011, an increase of nine percent from the previous year amid an increasing number of collectors from emerging markets. Experts also believe many investors are turning to art as an alternative to stocks, bonds and currencies.

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