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Sotheby’s To Host A 20th Century Middle Eastern Art Auction

Sotheby’s are hosting an online auction dedicated to 20th Century Middle Eastern art, with a focus on the journeys of individual artists, and contemporary regional artists. The auction begins online on March 23rd and works of art are being auctioned from £3,000 to £400,000.

These are some of the artists and pieces that are up for sale…

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Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam

‘Untitled’ from the ‘Sand Painting’ series, Oil and sand on canvas, 1963, 70 by 100 cm (est. £20,000-30,000).

Iranian artists, Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam is better known for his abstract sand paintings that he created in the early 1960’s. Inspired by a trip to Lake Albano as a child, his sand paintings took him months to master his work as he once spoke about how they were made, “I was playing with black sand on the shore, suddenly the traces of my fingers in the sand caught my attention. I left my friends and went back to Rome with a bag of sand. Finding shapes in sand turned into a pastime and it took me months to transfer the patterns I found onto a canvas.”

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Shadi Ghadirian

‘Untitled from the Ghajar Series,’ 2000-2001, C-print (est. £3,000-4,000)

Shadi Ghadirian is a contemporary photographer living and working in Tehran and her work is influenced by her experiences as a Muslim woman living in modern Iran, and her work also relates to the lives of women throughout the world.
Inspired by studio portraiture from Iran’s Qajar dynasty in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Ghadirian’s series of 33 portraits features models dressed in vintage clothes - but in each image there is a surprising modern element: A Pepsi can, a pair of sunglasses, a vacuum cleaner, and even a boombox. The portraits look to convey the contrast of womens’ lives in Iran - between the traditional and the modern, East and West.

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Mahmoud Said

‘Le Pirée A L’aube,’ 1949, oil on board, 46 by 66 cm. (est. £300,000-400,000).

Mahmoud Said is one of the world’s most sought after collectible modern Arab artists and Sotheby’s lauds the Egyptian artist’s 1949 painting, ‘Le Pirée A L’aube,’ “a rare masterpiece, depicting an extraordinarily industrial scene, which strongly represents the impressions of Said’s European influence, following his travels in the 1920s.” Statements from Sotheby’s about Mahmoud Said’s work also said, “Said had an ability to capture the complexities of light in a way that gave all his paintings an otherworldly, soft dreamlike haze.”

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Chant Avedissian

‘Icons of the Nile,’ gold and silver acrylic paint on cardboard, 52.5 by 72.6cm, 1995-2015 (est. £60,000-80,000)

Chant Avedissian is infamous for his stenciled works of art featuring renowned figures from Egyptian history, set against a backdrop of traditional Pharaonic texts – all in a pop-art style that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. ‘Icons of the Nile,’ is a signature piece by the artist and features 25 panels, each starring an icon from Egypt’s ‘Golden Age’ of cinema and music, such as Umm Kulthum against stencilled backgrounds.

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Abdulnasser Gharem

‘The Stamp’ (Inshallah)

Gharem is a Saudi Arabian artist and also a lieutenant colonel in the Saudi Arabian army and his work is characterized by innovative use of materials, including rubber stamps, a collapsed bridge, and an invasive tree. ‘The Stamp’ is inspired by something he realized when his military promotion led him to stamping documents for the most part of his working days. Moreover, how the stamp reduced the “logic that informed the thinking behind the decisions” to simply deciding “stamp or no stamp.” The piece up for auction reads “Have a bit of commitment” and “Inshallah.”

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Behjat Sadr

‘Untitled,’ Circa 1976, oil on aluminium paper laid on board, 63 by 74 cm (est. £24,000-30,000).

Also known as Behjat Sadr Mahallāti, Behjat was an Iranian modern art painter whose works have been exhibited in New York, Paris, and Rome. Sadr is known for her paintings that utilizing a palette knife on canvases to create impressionistic paintings featuring visual rhythm, movement and geometric shapes.
The painting up for auction is Sadr’s 1976 oil painting is typical of her work from the mid-Fifties onwards, when she gave up painting on easels and began painting her canvases on the floor.

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