NEW YORK—Christie’s sale of international modern and contemporary art in Dubai on April 27 realized AED 55.5million ($15.1million), indicating a healthy rebound from last year’s total of $4.8million (AED17.5million) and far exceeding the overall estimate of $4.8million/6.6million. Of 123 lots offered, 106, or 86 percent, found buyers. By value the auction was 96 percent sold. The sale, which was held at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, featured important works from the collection of Mohammed Said Farsi.
The top lot was Les chadoufs, 1934, a painting by Egyptian artist Mahmoud Said (1897–1964), which soared to $2.4million (AED8.9million), a new artist record, against a $150,000/200,000 estimate. Several other works by Said also sold far above expectations: Sunset on the Nile at Luxor, 1945, fetched $902,500 (AED3.3million) on an estimate of $80,000/120,000; A Girl Sitting on the Floor, 1950, sold for $772,500 (AED2.4million) against an estimate of $60,000/80,000; and Rocks and Hills in Aswan, 1953, fetched $482,500 (AED1.8million) on a $60,000/70,000 estimate.
Among the more modern offerings at the high end of the sale was Poet and Cage, 2008, a unique bronze architectural sculpture by Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli (b. 1937), which sold for $1million (AED3.7million), more than double the estimate of $300,000/400,000. Flying Carpet, 2007, an installation (from an edition of three) by Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri featuring 32 stacked machine-made carpets with the shape of a fighter jet cut out, surpassed the $250,000/350,000 estimate to sell for $542,500 (AED2million) to a private Middle Eastern buyer.
Records were set for several artists, including Egyptian artist Hamed Nada (1924–90)—whose Henna Eve, 1988, an oil and pencil on canvas, sold for $602,500 (AED 2.2 million) against a $120,000/180,000 estimate—and Mahmoud Mokhtar (1891–1934), also Egyptian, whose bronze When Meeting the Man, 1929, sold for $602,500 (AED2.2million) to a private Middle Eastern collector. Also records were the $578,500 (AED2.1million) paid for The Cosmorauma (Sandouk Ek-Dounia), 1951, an oil on cardboard by Egyptian artist Abdul Hadi El-Gazzar (1925–65), and the $554,500 (AED2million) paid for Rapture, 2009, a six-panel painting by Iranian artist Afshin Pirashemi (b. 1974), on a $50,000/70,000 estimate.