Bonhams sale of Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art on April 8 in London features stand-out works from the region's leading artists.
The sale's cover lot, Sohrab Sepehri, Untitled, is an important work from the artists emblematic Tree Series, estimated at £120,000-£150,000. Poet, artist and philosopher, Sepehri was one of Iran's most celebrated and influential modern intellectuals. The present work is an extremely fine example and carries an impeccable provenance having been purchased in 1971 from the artist by his close friend, a renowned scholar and translator of Persian literature.
Leading Iranian neo-traditionalist Charles Hossein Zenderoudi's "HOU+HE+VAV, at £80,000-110,000 is arguably one of the finest examples of the artists work from the 1970's, when he shifted his focus away from dense talismanic imagery and placed a greater focus on recurring letterforms.
Another prominent highlight is a very rare early work by Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri, a mixed media assemblage from the 1990's estimated to sell for £70,000-100,000. Inspired by Rauschenberg's "Combine's" and the artistic vocabulary of the proto-pop art movement, the present work was executed in 1994, making it the earliest Moshiri to be offered at public auction.
Fahr El-Nissa Zeid, who holds the record for a painting by any Middle Eastern artist, also features in the auction, with an important late portrait of a young Circassian girl. The work is a seminal example of her transition from abstraction into portraiture after the death of her husband and her subsequent return to Amman in the 1970's.
Also featured is an exceptional portrait by Syrian painter Louay Kayyali, estimated at £40,000-70,000 GBP, "Leaning Woman" comes from the collection of the late Hadba Nizar Kabbani, a prolific collector and the daughter of Nizar Kabbani, one of the Arab world's most celebrated modern poets.
Other notable contemporary artists to feature in the sale are Ayman Baalbaki, Rokni Haerizadeh, Zena Assi and Mohammed Kazem.
The sale is curated by Nima Sagharchi, a new appointment in Bonhams Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art Department. Sagharchi comments: "We are delighted to be staging a sale featuring rare and important works from some of the regions most eminent artists. Many of the works come to market for the first time and are notable for their distinguished provenance", adding that "Bonhams has enjoyed a significant presence in the Middle Eastern art market since our inaugural sales in Dubai over six years ago.
The new chapter of sales in London, not only demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the category, but emphasize our intention to raise the profile of Middle Eastern art in the international market"
Bonhams will hold a preview exhibition during 'Art Dubai', on March 17th, in the JAMM Gallery, owned by H.H Sheikha Lulu Al Sabah who is curating a part of the sale titled "Art from the Gulf". This element of the sale will showcase works of up and coming artists from the Gulf region.
Nima Sagharchi has had over seven years experience in the Middle Eastern Art market having co-curated "Conference of the Birds", an exhibition of Iranian Modern and Contemporary Art in London in 2008 as well as the first solo show in the UK by the Lebanese artist Zena El Khalil. He began collecting Middle Eastern Art in 2007 and was featured in Canvas magazines first "Young Collectors" list in 2008 at the age of 19.
He is co-chair of the Iran Heritage Foundation's Future Patron's Committee, and in 2013 helped organize the Committee's first annual fundraiser in support of TATE's MENA committee. He studied Philosophy and Logic at the London School of Economics and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2012.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com