Dubai: The month-long art season in Dubai that concluded last week demonstrated the maturity and coming of age of the art market here, further establishing Dubai as the regional art hub.
Several record-breaking auctions were conducted dring the season. With over 60 art galleries and museums in the city, viewing and buying art has is now an established part of Dubai’s cultural agenda. The scope of this development over the last eight or nine years can be gauged from the fact that in a span of a month, Dubai now hosts an active art calendar with the Dubai art week, Design days and Sikka art fairs all happening simultaneously.
“ It is phenomenal how Dubai developed into the art space in the past eight-nine years.” Hala Khayat, Head of Sales at Christie’s, UAE.
“Art is an alternative asset and does not replace traditional assets. It is used to alleviate the risk in your traditional financial portfolio. When stocks and bonds go down, art goes up.” ” This synergy has attracted art curators and galleries from around the world to display and interact here. This has helped Dubai evolve into an attractive art trade market.
All major auction houses and art fund houses have opened offices here and have been doing robust business. This is proof that good art sells at a high price and there are as many buyers in the market here as sellers.
At one of the most prominent spring auctions at the leading international auction house Christie’s in Dubai — that accounts for more than 74 per cent of the auction market in the region — over 140 art works were sold for a total of $10.64 million (Dh39.11 million), an increase of 65 per cent on last year’s sale total and most of them far higher than their estimated prices.
The Pharaoh’s Collection of Modern Egyptian Art, expected to sell for around $1.4 million (Dh4.68 million) made $3.89 million (Dh 14.03 million). The top lot of the sale, also from the Collection, was Abdul Hadi El-Gazzar’s (Egyptian, 1925-1965)Construction of the Suez Canal which sold for $1.02 million, a new world auction record for the artist. . . . .”
A 15th-century ceramic cup from the Ming Dynasty will be included in a Sotheby’s (BID) auction next month in Hong Kong, after the seller retracted an earlier decision to pull the sale.
The cup, valued at HK$200 million ($26 million) to HK$300 million, will be offered at Sotheby’s on April 8, according to Nicolas Chow, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Asia and International Head of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art.
The seller, a Swiss collector in his nineties who had earlier asked to pull the cup from the sale, changed his mind, said Giuseppe Eskenazi, who originally sold the piece to the collector in 2000 and is advising the seller.
The cup was promoted in a March 6 press release by Sotheby’s as a “potential record breaker” and is considered the finest piece of Chinese ceramics in private hands. It comes from the Meiyintang Collection, whose owner has vacillated over selling it, said Eskenazi, a London-based dealer who originally sold the piece to him in 2000.
“It’s such a great treasure, he didn’t want to part with it as he treasured it so much,” Eskenazi, who helped the seller place pieces with Sotheby’s before, said by telephone today. “But finally, he agreed a few hours ago to go ahead.”
Eskenazi, who bought the cup for almost HK$30 million in 1999, sold it one year later to its present owner.
“This is the most valuable piece of porcelain in any private collection,” he said.
The cup, made for the Chenghua emperor (1465-1487) is considered the most rare of Chinese ceramics and may set an auction record, according to the Sotheby’s press release. It has been nicknamed the “Chicken Cup” because it depicts a rooster, his hen and their chicks, an allegorical representation of the emperor, the empress and their subjects.
“We are very excited to present this in the sale,” Chow said by telephone. “It is the single most expensive, single most sought after Chinese porcelain ever offered at auction.”
The “Chicken Cup” is only 8 centimeters (3.1 inches) in diameter, delicate and dainty, . . . .
I’ll just bet he’s out of the country; I can’t imagine having the cahoney’s to pull something like this off. And it begs the question of how well Knoedler & Co. were investigating the works they processed. Where are the provenance records, the testing process results, etc.? Were those forged as well, or were they not included in the sale? In this day and age, how were so many forged items passed of?