Three concurrent sales took place as in London this week as part of Sotheby’s Orientalist and Middle Eastern Art week, here is Selections’s report on all the action that took place:
Arts of the Islamic World Sale
The Arts of the Islamic World sale offered historical objects and was the first of three sales to take place at Sotheby’s on April 24. It combined various works of art produced under the aegis of multiple Islamic Empires spread over three continents over a period of over 1200 years, netting the auction house £6,128,625 in total sales.
Highlights included a 19th century Ottoman Turkish erotic manuscript on paper by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Mustafa al-Misri, with a pre-sale estimate of £250,000-300,000, closing well above at £561,000.
A breathtaking Iznik blue and white pottery pilgrim flask with animals made in Turkey, circa 1545-55 AD, also closed well above its pre-sale estimate of £60,000-80,000, going to a bidder at a final price of £669,000, more than eight fold it’s pre-sale estimate.
The sale also shed light on the appetite for manuscripts relating to scientific advances developed and practised during the Islamic Golden Age, including one notable work: “The Book of Correction of Optics for those who have Sight and Mind” from the 14th century AD, with a pre-sale estimate of £250,000-300,000, coming in at a final sale price of £549,000.
The “Arts of the Islamic World” sale at Sotheby’s in London offered a total of 204 lots, 67 of which went unsold.
20th Century Art / Middle East Sale
The Sotheby’s sale of 20th Century Art / Middle East featured 60 lots ranging from the modern to contemporary period, totalling £2,140,250 in sales.
Highlights included record breaking artists and exceptional works by Bahman Mohasses (which achieved a new world record at auction), Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, Mahmoud Said, Mayo (another new world record at auction), Farid Belkahia, Ahmed Mater, Ramses Younan.
Mohasses’s (1931-2010) “The Minotaur Scares the Good People” had a pre-sale estimate of £280,000-350,000, closing in at a final sale price of £549,000, suggesting that the market for Iranian modern art remains bullish.
While the Orientalist Sale, launched as an annual event in 2012 and now in its seventh season, netted Sotheby’s £5,175,750 in sales spread across 61 lots. The works on offer featured mostly paintings and sculptures of landscapes, people, and customs of North Africa, Egypt, the Levant, Arabia, and the Ottoman world during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Highlights included works by Theodoros Ralli, Arthur von Ferraris, Anders Zorn, and Eugène Girardet, all of whom achieved strong results above their pre-sale estimates.
Featured Image: One of the most vibrant and iconic works by the pioneer of Iraqi Modernism ever to have appeared at auction. Shakir Hassan Al-Said, Bustan Al-Ma’refa (The Orchard of Knowledge), oil on canvas, 1952 (est. £60,000-80,000).