James Christie, founder of the fine art auction house that bears his name, held his first auction on 5 December 1766. Christie’s Dubai is celebrating the 250th anniversary (and its own ten years of activity in the UAE) with an impressive curated sale 113 works of modern and contemporary art from the region.
They include 19 works grouped as ‘Beyond the Fountain: Pioneers of Saqqakhaneh’, all acquired directly from the pioneering Iranian artists who helped shape the Saqqakhaneh movement in Iran in the 1960s. Saqqakhaneh took its name from votive fountains installed for public drinking; this was the first culturally specific modernist group of note whose works were influenced as much by Shi’ite folk art as international formal strategies, and the artists involved were specifically aiming to reconcile their Iranian heritage with Western art.
The sale also includes three works of art that will benefit charities. Iranian artist Monir Farmanfarmaian has donated a piece called Pentagon, created in 2011 and exhibited at the 2013 Sharjah Biennale; the proceeds will ultimately benefit the Iranian Comprehensive Haemophilia Care Centre (ICHCC), a cause that is close to the artist’s heart.
Luxury watch retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons has commissioned two works from the Emirati artist Abdul Qader Al Rais; the two pieces incorporate watch components. The proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Noor Dubai Foundation.
Above: Mahmoud Saïd, Village de Choueir – Liban (esquisse); 1951. Oil on board. Estimate: AED 300,000 to 440,000. This is one of several preparatory oil sketches that Saïd produced for a larger painting, one of his best-known Lebanese landscapes.
Below: Parviz Tanavoli, Untitled (Persepolis); early 1960s. Oil on card. Estimate: AED 150,000 to 220,000. Christie’s has three early 1960s works by Parviz Tanavoli, a leader of the Saqqakhaneh movement. This one, a rare work on card, has the seated figure of Darius the Great receiving a messenger in an iconography that echoes carvings in Persepolis