An art auction featuring works by modern Arab, Iranian and Turkish artists at Christie’s in Dubai fetched a whopping $7,980,875 and set 42 world records, according to a statement by Christie’s.
The highlight of the sale came from a Saudi Arabian public-private initiative called Edge of Arabia, an enterprise that promotes Saudi artists. The sale of six works under the banner fetched $1,051,000, although prior to the sale it was estimated the work would go for $135,000, reported Arabian Business. The money from the sale will be used to expand the enterprise’s education programs as well as showcase Arab art and culture in Saudi schools and universities.
The auction was packed with an audience eager to view the work showcasing some of the best talent in the region. A three-meter wide wood and copper dome symbolizing the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem by Abdulnasser Gharem was sold for $842,500, more than 10 times its original estimate.
Ayman Yossri Daydban’s Wasat Al Halaba pieces were sold for $27,500—breaking a previous record.
Michael Jeha, managing director of Christie’s Middle East, said in an interview: “Records tumbled in a standing-room-only saleroom, reflecting the increasing international appeal and quality of art from the Middle East. We were delighted to add 42 records to the 318 already established by Christie’s sales in the Middle East since 2006.”
Abdullah Al-Turki, director of Edge of Arabia said: “[The sale] confirms that these works by Saudi artists can hold their weight as record-breaking pieces of contemporary art. The proceeds from the Edge of Arabia [sale] will go toward nurturing a new generation of artists and curators in Saudi Arabia.”
The Edge of Arabia group wasn’t the only winner at the auction. The Egyptian modern master Abdul Hadi El-Gazzar, one of the leading proponents of surrealism in his country, sold his work for $746,500.
The young Lebanese artist Ayman Baalbaki’s piece titled “Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom,” estimated between $50,000 to $70,000, was ultimately sold for $206,500 after a heated bidding.
(Ikram Al-Yacoub of Al Arabiya can be reached at: email@example.com)