After closing the saleroom in South Kensington, Christie’s is extending its cost-cutting plan to the Middle East. Christie’s announced recently that its Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern art sale in October this year will be relocated to London from Dubai.
This sale will auction off approximately 60 lots, far less than the 100 to 150 lots in same auction in Dubai in March, but it already hit Christie’s target. “We now sell around 30% of our Dubai sales to international buyers,” says Michael Jeha, Christie’s managing director and deputy chairman Middle East, and he believes the decision to move to London will “help engage a wider audience” in order to “internationalize the market further for Middle Eastern art”.
Christie’s exhibition in Dubai
The strategy to “internationalize the market further for Middle Eastern art” can be interpreted as a retreat from the Middle East. The Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern art sale in Dubai was followed by the October Important Watches sale – which is not going to take place now – as replaced by “an additional online auction, mirroring the Dubai live auction offering”, according to a Christie’s statement.
With the boost of Art Dubai around the same period, the March sale will continue to be held in Dubai to attract more new collectors.
Mahmoud Sa’id and Hanem
Items to be sold at this sale include Hanem by Egyptian painter Mahmoud Sa'id (1897-1964) with an estimate of £120,000 – 180,000, and works from artists like Charles Hossein Zenderoudi (a pioneer of Iranian modern art) and Shafic Abboud (1926-2004, a Lebanese painter who spent most of his life in Paris).
Christie’s Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art Sale will be held on 25 October, during Middle Eastern Art Week, competing against an equivalent auction by Sotheby’s. While Bonhams auction of Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art is scheduled to be held in November.