INTERNATINAL. Sotheby’s sale of 20th Century Art – A Different Perspective in London on 2 December 2015 saw six new records set for works of modern Arab and Iranian art.
The sale was led by Egyptian artist Mahmoud Mokhtar's sculpture, On the Banks of the Nile (Nahw Ma’a ElNil), which sold for £317,000. Appearing for the first time at auction, this elegant bronze depicting an Egyptian 'fellaha' collecting water was pursued by numerous bidders, driving the sale price to around ten times the low estimate.
The auction featured a group of outstanding artists from the Middle East – the innovators and influencers of their respective countries – stretching from the 1950s until the early 1980s.
Records were set for the Moroccan artist Ahmed Ben Driss el Yacoubi, whose painting The Battle of Marrakesh sold for £37,500 (estimate £12,000-18,000), and the Lebanese artist Helen Khal, whose untitled abstract oil realised £47,500 (estimate £20,000-30,000).
Alongside the exceptional result for the Mokhtar, there were further strong results of artists of Egyptian origin, with new records set for Mounir Canaan and Ezekhiel Baourkh.
An untitled canvas by the Iranian artist Behjat Sadr, whose work featured in last year’s exhibition, Iran: Unedited History,1960-2014 at the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris, sold for £56,250, a new record for the artist at auction.
Overall, the sale brought a total of £2,274,500.
Photo Caption: Egyptian artist Mahmoud Mokhtar's sculpture, On the Banks of the Nile (Nahw Ma’a ElNil), which sold for £317,000 (Credit: Sotheby's)