Christie's is celebrating Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art with the relaunch of its online auction in Dubai after a three-year pandemic hiatus. The sale covers a wide variety of artistic production from the entire region, including works by artists from the Gulf, the Levant, Iraq, and North Africa with strong female representation, such as Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim and Mohammed Kazem.
Christie's Dubai will display a selection of highlights from the auction, including works by renowned modernist artists such as Shaker Hassan Al Said, Dia Azzawi, and Shafic Abboud, as well as celebrated contemporary Emirati artists like Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim and Mohammed Kazem. Additionally, works by Etel Adnan, Huguette Caland, Hayv Kahraman, Dana Awartani, and Nadia Kaabi-Linke will be on display. The exhibition will run from 8-16 May and is open on weekdays from 10 am to 7 pm and weekends from 2 pm to 7 pm.
According to Arab News, this year's auction has seen a notable upturn in bids from international clients. "It's a very encouraging moment for the Middle East market, as much as it is for African and Southeast Asian markets. It's been exciting," said Christie's specialist Suzy Sikorski.
Theodore & C. would like to offer our own selection of highlights from the auction.
Acrylic on canvas
153 x 105.4 cm
Mohamed Melehi's Wilde painting has been noted by many and is a striking example of the artist's famous "wave" series. In the 1960s, Melehi was a key leader of the Casablanca Art School, which aimed to take art to the streets through urban murals. "You often see his wave works performing very well at auctions," Sikorski says. "This painting is a unique collector's item because it's difficult to source."
Bullets Revisited #3 (or Bullet #3 as on the artist’s website), 2012
Chromogenic print, in 3 parts; each: 102 x 83 cm, overall: 102 x 249 cm
Lalla Essaydi's glittering triptych is a continuation of her exploration of the complex reality of Arab female identity. The image both appropriates (or rather reclaims) Orientalist iconography from the Western painting tradition, while also representing traditional art forms such as calligraphy, embroidery, and mosaic. According to the artist, "By reclaiming the rich tradition of calligraphy and interweaving it with the traditionally female art of henna, I have been able to express, and yet, in another sense, dissolve the contradictions I have encountered in my culture: between hierarchy and fluidity, between public and private space, between the richness and the confining aspects of Islamic traditions."
Kurdish Women, 2009
Sumi ink and gold paint on paper
68.3 x 104.6 cm
In this work, the Los Angeles-based Iraqi-Kurdish artist depicts five Kurdish women contemplating birds on a leafless black tree. The work contains elements of ancient Asian painting with its Japanese sumi ink, which highlights Kahraman's interest in art history. "It's a beautiful piece, especially with the different blocks of color, geometric shapes, and traditional Kurdish fashion," says Sikorski.
Untitled (Still Life), 1968
Oil on canvas
101.5 x 127.2 cm
Manoucher Yektai's heavily impasto still life captures the unique combination of serenity and dynamism that is characteristic of the Persian-American artist. His intense and lyrical pieces move between naturalism and abstraction. Yektai worked on his paintings from the floor, a feature that contributed to their visual energy and channeled a mid-century sense of artistic freedom. As a founding member of the New York School of Abstract Expressionism, Yektai's practice was shaped by interactions with contemporaries such as de Kooning, Pollock, Kline, and Rothko. However, his celebration of everyday beauty is elevated by a vivid blending of cultures.