Rembrandt in town at Christie’s Katara show
DOHA THE cultural village Katara on Thursday joined hands with the premier art auction house Christie’s to present a rare exhibition of modern and contemporary middle- eastern art. They have arranged lectures by experts on the displayed masterpieces over the next couple of days.
Christie’s also unveiled the famous 17th century Dutch artist Rembrandt’s realistic portrait titled ‘A bust of a man in a gorget and cap’ worth around ?12 million, which crowns The Pieter & Olga Dreesmann Collection of Dutch Old Master Paintings and which would be offered on sale in Christie’s forthcoming auction in London in July.
Katara President Abdulrahman al Khulaifi said, “We are happy to collaborate with one of the world’s leading art auction houses Christie’s as it would not only enrich the cultural scene in Qatar but also give us an opportunity to educate Qatari residents about art and highlight works of Qatari artists on international platforms.” Christie’s International Business Development Director Paul Hewitt remarked, “We are offering a complete package of art work based education, which would help Qatar groom its professional artists as well as connoisseurs of art and become the cultural hub of the region.” As many as 19 modern and contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish works including those by the internationally recognised Iraqi artist Ahmed Alsoudani and the father of modern Egyptian art Mahmoud Saïd and 30 exceptional Islamic and Indian artworks are on display at the exhibition.
Alsoudani’s highly coloured image of a disfigured face surrounded by shattered forms is the costliest work with an estimated price between $300,000-500,000.
Similarly, Saïd’s painting of a woman and donkeys beside the meandering Nile with a mountain range beyond has been estimated between $250,000-300,000.
Other highlights of the modern and contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish art in the exhibition include pieces by Ayman Baalbaki, Jewad Selim, Louay Kayyali, Mohammad Ehsai, Parviz Tanavoli, Nasrollah Afjehei and Burhan Cahit Dogançay.
Michael Jeha, Managing Director of Christie’s Middle East, said the presence of such an impressive group of established artists alongside some new emerging artists at the exhibition give Qatari collectors and art enthusiasts a fantastic opportunity to see the past, present and future talent among the artists of the Middle East and Turkey.
“With each season that passes we see increasing interest from international collectors in the leading artists of the region and a fast growing engagement with a wider and younger audience for contemporary Middle Eastern works of art,” Jeha said.
Prominent among the Islamic art collections are a rare Mufradat manuscript copied by 13th century Iraqi calligrapher Yaqut al Musta’simi and estimated at £800,000-£1200,000, a copy of the Holy Quran written entirely in gold from the 16th century Safavid Herat or Bukhara (£200,000-300,000) and a blue Quran folio from 9th century Kairouan (£30,000-50,000).
The Indian miniature section is led by an illustration from Zafarnama and a victorious allegorical portrait of Mughal emperor Jehangir. Besides, the section also boasts of a rare enamelled and gilt glass bottle from 13th century Syria decorated with unique bilingual Arabic and Byzantine Greek inscriptions and applied small animal shapes, oriental rugs and over 20 pieces of Ottomon Turkish pottery.
The Director of Christie’s Islamic Art Department William Robinson said, “The Kufic (The Holy) Quran written entirely in gold is a great rarity, and there is a wonderful group of Indian miniatures from a number of different royal manuscripts dating from the early Mughal period, particularly under the emperor Akbar.”