'Modern masters' in art auction

Art collectors in Dubai are in for a real treat as Christie's hosts an auction of exceptional work by artists from the region at its forthcoming display of International Modern and Contemporary Art in Dubai on Wednesday.

Even though the auction will feature works by artists such as Mahmoud Said, Seif and Adham Wanly, Dia Azzawi, Ahmed Moustafa, Ali Omar Ermes, Fateh Moudarres and Paul Guiragossian, the ones to watch will be works by Iranian artists Charles Hossein Zenderoudi and Parviz Tanavoli.

A recent piece by the UAE's Abdul Kader Al Rais, Bishra, which is a large and powerful calligraphic triptych painting, will also go under the hammer.

William Lawrie, international modern and contemporary art specialist and head of sales at Christies, told Emirates Business: "A look at the work of these artists shows the tremendous breadth of themes and styles that comprise modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art. These are artists of the highest calibre and their work sits alongside that of modern masters from around the world. This is being recognised by international collectors, who come to the Middle East in growing numbers every season."

The sale of 198 works of art is led by a commanding pre-revolution bronze sculpture, The Wall (Oh Persepolis), by Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli. This remarkable work is expected to fetch $400,000 (Dh1.4 million) to $600,000 at the auction.

Lawrie said: "It is an outstanding example from the artist's monumental series of bronzes, The Walls of Iran, which represents his greatest and most mature achievement. The present work is an extraordinary opportunity for a collector or institution to acquire a rare work of the highest calibre."

Works from The Wall series can be found in several important collections including the Museum of Modern Art, Vienna; the Ludwig Museum, Aachen, Germany; The Grey Art Gallery, New York University; the City of Isfahan and the City of Tehran.

The other offerings to watch out for are seven outstanding works by Iranian artist Charles Hossein Zenderoudi.

"These works span the five decades of his career, from the 1960s until 2006, each from a different phase, showing both evolution and continuity in his work, from his early engagements with neo-traditionalist iconography through to his various experiments with letterism and ornamentation," said Lawrie.

The most important work in this group is the VAV + HWE, an acrylic on canvas. Painted in 1972 and measuring two square metres, this piece is exceptional in its use of modulated tones of red and the balance of black, white and red coloured masses, carefully controlled to produce an extraordinary, vibrant effect. This work is also expected to fetch $400,000 to $600,000.

Other paintings by the artist include Tchaar-Bagh and Linthal-Manama, both of which are expected to sell for as much as $250,000 to $300,000.

Ahmed Moustafa is represented in the sale with Meditation on Three Themes from Sura Ya' Sin, painted in 2006, a triptych of monumental quality and proportions. This is set to fetch $350,000 to $400,000.

Jussi Pylkkänen, President of Christie's Middle East, said: "This is unquestionably the most important grouping of contemporary Arab and Iranian art available for sale in the Middle East to date and the diversity and quality of the pieces being offered for this sale attests to the robust development of the market and interest in these categories."

Michael Jeha, Managing Director, Middle East, concluded: "Once again Christie's LIVE will enable collectors and interested parties around the Middle East and the world to enjoy the look, sound and feel of this exciting sale in Dubai from their personal computer, as well as participate."

The auction will take place at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers at 6.30pm on Wednesday. The art works will be open for public viewing ahead of the auction from today.
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