Christies in Dubai sets record for most pricey Arab artwork

CONTEMPORARY MIDDLE EASTERN ART

Christies

DUBAI- Christies auctions Ahmed Mustafa's diptych "Remembrance and Gratitude" on October 24, 2009 for a record breaking $662,500.

A Christies auction in Dubai set a new record for the price of a contemporary Arab artwork, fetching $662,500 for a double calligraphy piece by Egyptian artist Ahmed Mustafa titled “Remembrance and Gratitude.” Matoob Business reports Mustafa already held the record for the highest selling Arab artwork, and broke his own auction sales record set with a different artwork in 2007.

Christies not surprised

The record breaking sale was little surprise to Christies, however. The Daily Star reveals Christies had given the work the highest-ever guide price, valuing Mustafa’s diptych at $600,000-$800,000. Christies Middle East and Europe president Jussi Phylkkanen notes:

“Expectations were high, especially with regards to the exhibited works of exceptional quality”

Other high sellers

The second highest selling artwork at $578,500 dollars was “Untitled (Yellow Heads)” painting by India’s Tyeb Metha. Turkish artist Burhan Dogancay’s “Rift” sold for $242,500, and Iranian Charles Hossein Zenderoudi’s “Kharjee Spirit” fetched $218,500 dollars.

Middle Eastern market shows growth

The October 24th auction in total sold 6.7 million dollars worth of artworks, twice the value reached in the last auction that was held in April. The October sale was being viewed by experts as a test for the Middle Eastern art market, which has struggled in the recession as the mega rich expressed less interest in purchasing artworks.

Regarding the sale, AFP reports that Michael Jeha, Christies Middle East managing director commented:

“Despite the global economic crisis… the appetite for art in the Middle East continues to grow, and also the appetite for Middle Eastern arts.”

Jeha continued by saying that since the first auction in 2006, Christies sales in Dubai have risen by 400%.

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