The London auctioneers, founded over 240 years ago, saw sales totalling more than $23 million during its last Dubai venture in April – up 113 per cent on the previous year.
Among the items sold then were Mahmoud Said’s (1897-1964) Les Chadoufs from 1934, which set a record for a modern painting by any Middle Eastern artist when it sold for $2.4 million (Dhs8.9 million).
Michael Jeha, managing director of Christie’s in the Middle East, said, “While we weren’t immune to the recent economic downturn, Christie’s Dubai sales continue to provide an international platform for emerging and established artists.”
This month’s Dubai sales will see museum-quality works from the Dr. Mohammed Farsi Collection, with 40 sets of matching jewellery to be sold without reserve, and 42 collectors’ watches. The combined estimate for the two sales is $20.3 million.
Among the 30 paintings on sale are pieces from 20th century Egyptian artists such as Mahmoud Said, Ragheb Ayad, Abul Hadi El-Gazzar, Hamed Nada and Adam Henein.
The leading highlight is The Whirling Dervishes (1929, estimate: $300,000 to $400,000), an early work by Mahmoud Said. Born to an aristocratic Alexandrian family, the son of Egypt’s prime minister and uncle to Queen Farida, Said trained as a lawyer before devoting himself fully to art in 1947.
The painting (left) depicts six Mawlawi dervishes, each identically clad and with similar features but subtly different postures, performing a Sema dance around the circular stage of an Ottoman-era Semahane (ritual hall). The artist is also represented with four additional works including The Girl in A Pink Dress (1945, estimate: $100,000 to $150,000).
A magnificent million-dollar natural pearl and diamond suite of jewellery made by Bogh-Art, the Geneva-based contemporary jewellers, leads Christie’s ‘Jewels and Watches’ sale (below left). The choker necklace has an intricate ‘blue-bell’ design, with each diamond flower head mounted with a pear-shaped diamond, interspersed by pearls. The detachable pendant drop is matched by a pair of pearl and diamond pendant earrings.
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