The sale offers a strong selection of Modern and Contemporary works of art which reflect the region’s rich modern art heritage and thriving contemporary art scene. Comprising 58works across mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture and photography from the period 1940s-2020s, the sale encompasses works by Arab artists from across the across the Middle East and North Africa, including works by artists from the U.A.E, KSA, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Egypt and Morocco.
One of the contemporary highlights of the sale is From the Real to the Symbolic City (Desert of Pharan series), 2012, (illustrated above), (estimate £40,000-60,000) by Saudi Arabian artist Ahmed Mater (B.1979). Recognised today as one of the most esteemed cultural voices, Mater documents and scrutinises the realities of contemporary Saudi Arabia. From the Real to the Symbolic City captures an expansive view of the extraordinarily dense population and traditional architecture that have characterised Mecca for decades. Part of the Desert of Pharan series, the work showcases the tension between public and private space in Islamic cities. While Mecca is home to more than a million residents, it is being transformed to cater to the needs of millions more pilgrims and tourists and the present work reflects on the artist’s concern that a sense of place, history and community are being lost.
Etel Adnan (1925, Beirut – 2021, Paris) Untitled, 2003, (Estimate £60,000-80,000). Untitled is a radiant later work by Etel Adnan, a leading voice of contemporary Arab-American culture who moved between the disciplines of literature, poetry and art. This radiant later work reflects Adnan’s idea of vision as ‘multidimensional and simultaneous’, a meeting place for many images fused into one sensory experience.
Mahmoud Sabri (1927, Baghdad – 2012, Maidenhead), Rural Family, 1960 (Estimate £120,000-180,000). A rare masterpiece by the Iraqi modern pioneer, Rural Family originates from the artist’s estate and was painted around the same time as his celebrated Funeral of the Martyr series.
Abd Al-Hadi El-Gazzar, (1925, Alexandria – 1966, Cairo), Abstraction, signed, 1955, (Estimate £40,000-60,000). Coming directly from the artist’s estate and included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonée prepared by Valerie Didier, Abstraction is a rare work by El-Gazzar in which we see the artist stripping the composition of all resemblance to real life and moving slowly to his subsequent body of work which was concerned with industrialisation and spatial conquest.
Sultan bin Fahad (b. 1971, Riyadh) Mosques (Holy Economy series), 2021, (estimate £20,000-30,000). Sultan bin Fahad is one of the leading contemporary Saudi voices exploring expressions of Islam and Saudi identity through the products of his homeland’s prodigious material culture. By assembling and re-arranging eclectic and domestic objects, bin Fahad aims to illuminate latent cultural memories and connect past and present.
Nabil Nahas, (b. 1949, Beirut) Orion, 1996, (estimate £40,000-60,000). One of the Lebanon’s most renowned living artists, Nabil Nahas is a master of colour, texture, and atmosphere. He takes inspiration from a diverse range of resources, most significantly the nature growing up between Lebanon and Egypt and occasionally Islamic art, in particular its abstract geometric and chromatic qualities. Orion is part of the artist’s celebrated Fractal series, built up by layer upon layer of acrylic paint mixed with pumice and finished in vivid colours. Through its three-dimensional exploration and play with scale, viewers are invited to delve into microcosmic worlds within the canvas.
Dr Ridha Moumni, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s Middle East and North Africa comments, ‘Following the successful exhibition of Arab Art in London at Christie’s London over the summer, we are delighted to be able to bring a selection of the very best examples of Arab art to auction this autumn. Hosting a live sale in London enables us to reach across time zones and to an increasingly international market for works from across the Arab world, as well as our existing important Middle Eastern client base. I am delighted to see such a rich and varied selection from established names being sought after by a new generation of collectors’.
Marie-Claire Thijsen, Head of Sale, Middle Eastern Modern and Contemporary Art comments, ‘The auction offers a vibrant mix of exciting contemporary voices and modern masters across different price points appealing to both new and seasoned collectors alike. Spanning from across the Middle East and North Africa and held in London, the sale conveys the importance of art as a strong form of visual communication, encouraging discussion and supporting the history and heritage of the Middle East and North Africa through art’.
Estimates range from £2,000-£120,000 and the sale is expected to realise in the region of £1,244,000-1,803,000.
Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business with a physical presence in 46 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, and flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. Renowned and trusted for our expert live and online-only auctions, as well as bespoke Private Sales, Christie’s unparalleled network of specialists offers our clients a full portfolio of global services, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $500 to over $100 million. Christie’s has sold 8 of the 10 most important single-owner collections in history, achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction, launched the first fully on-chain auction platform dedicated to exceptional NFT art and manages an investment fund to support innovative startups in the art market. Christie’s is also committed to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide. To learn more, browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps.