Dubai: A rare masterpiece by the father of modern Egyptian art Mahmoud Saeed is expected to break another record at Christie’s Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art sale that takes place on Monday and Tuesday at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai.
Titled Pecheurs a Rashid and depicting a busy river scene showing fishermen unloading their catch on the banks of the river Nile, the art piece carries a pre-sale price tag of between $400,000 (Dh1.46 million) and $600,000.
Egypt’s iconic painter (1897-1964) is known for his works depicting images of dervishes, dancers, nudes and aristocrats. He made headlines in 2010 when one of his masterpieces, The Whirling Dervishes (1929), fetched $2.54 million, a far cry from the pre-sale estimate of $400,000.
Hala Khayat, specialist in Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art, said the artist’s Pecheurs a Rashid is “undeniably the most representative of Saeed’s art because of the beauty of the Egyptian character captured through the artist’s harmonious composition.”
Part 1 of the auction that takes place tonight also showcases another rare painting by Saeed, titled El Zar, with a pre-sale estimate of $150,000 to $200,000, as well as three works by Iranian Farhad Moshiri.
Part 2 of the sale, which kicks off tomorrow, will feature over 100 lots spanning the work of modern and young artists, with lower price points from around $2,000.
Michael Jeha, managing director at Christie’s Middle East, said the sales are expected to generate around $4.5 million and attract not only regular collectors and investors, but first-time buyers as well.
“We have works across the two sales with estimates from as low as $2,000 up to $600,000. With such a range of values, the sales attract a diverse group of buyers. We will see many established collectors who regularly attend the sales but, as in past sale seasons, hope to see and meet a new group of art enthusiasts many of whom have come to look for the first time,” Jeha told Gulf News.
Christie’s is also offering a free public viewing of the art works from Sunday to Wednesday this week. “The viewing is open to everyone and we would encourage anyone interested to come down and enjoy. It really is a mini pop-up museum, for a few day only,” Jeha added.