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Sotheby’s to Host 'A Love Letter to Beirut' Auction in Celebration of Lebanon

An upcoming exhibition at Sotheby’s in Dubai this month will feature a curated selection of artworks by Arab artists, praised for their capacity to cut through Lebanon's challenging political environment and for being both inspirational and captivating. Titled "A Love Letter to Beirut," this showcase forms part of a larger sale set to take place in the UK. Scheduled from February 26 to March 1 at Sotheby’s DIFC, the exhibition highlights Lebanon's cultural heritage and the extensive impact on the region's artistic scene. The main auction, featuring a diverse array of artworks ranging from representational to abstract paintings, watercolors, mixed media, and sculptures, will be held on April 23 in London.

The collection celebrates Lebanese and Arab artists inspired by Beirut, showcasing their works that have garnered international recognition. Alexandra Roy, Sotheby’s head of sales for modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art, expressed how art has transcended Lebanon's intricate political landscape, resonating on a global scale. The exhibition in Dubai will feature nearly 30 Lebanese creatives, including prominent figures like Etel Adnan, Nabil Nahas, Saliba Douaihy, and Paul Guiragossian.

Among the featured artworks, an untitled 1972 painting by Aref El Rayess stands out as a highlight. Rayess, a significant artist in the region and a founding member of Lebanese University's fine arts department, infused his paintings with influences from his travels across West Africa, incorporating elements of mythology and magic. His work symbolizes Beirut's continuous role as a creative hub from the emergence of mid-century modernism to the present day, 1960s - 2020s.

The exhibition also presents works by other notable artists such as Jordanian sculptor Mona Saudi and Egyptian modern master painter Mahmoud Said. Said's 1951 painting "Maisons a Aitanit," depicting a lakeside hamlet in southern Lebanon, will be auctioned for the first time, offering a glimpse into his visits to the region in the 1950s.

Roy noted the collection's colorful diversity, reflecting the artists' varied life experiences, different backgrounds, and inspirations. Through this eclectic showcase, the exhibition invites viewers to explore the interconnectedness of art, culture, and history in shaping the artistic landscape of the Middle East and beyond.

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