Several Works by Iranian Artists Sold at Christie’s London

Iranian artworks at the Christie’s sales of ‘Middle Eastern, Modern and Contemporary Art’ and ‘Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds’ fetched high prices.

Held October 25, the Modern and Contemporary Art sale, which was held in London for the first time (the previous 22 rounds were in Dubai), generated $6.8 million from 44 pieces sold from among the 57 on display. Ten Iranian pieces sold during the event accounted for one fifth of the total sale.

According to the auction website, the sculpture ‘Standing Lovers’ by Parviz Tanavoli at $262,200 and Monir Farmanfarmaian’s mirror and glasswork ‘Heartbeat’ worth $147,488, got the highest bids in the Iranian lots.

Tanavoli, 80, is an internationally recognized contemporary artist with  profound knowledge of Iranian history and culture. He is best known globally for his calligraphic work ‘Heech’, the Persian word for ‘zilch’ based on which he has made tens of sculptures.

Farmanfarmaian works combine the traditional technique of glass mosaic and painting with a contemporary aesthetic.

Islamic World Art

In the ‘Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds’ sale, held October 26, several Iranian pieces, including books, carpets and paintings accounted for a significant share of the  total sale of $6 million from 325 lots.

Avicenna’s book ‘Al-Qanun Fi Al-Tibb’ was one of the items that went to the highest bidder at $26,500, Mehr News Agency reported.

Avicenna (908-1037) was born near Bukhara in Central Asia. He was a Persian polymath who is respected as one of the top thinkers and writers of Iran. Of the 450 works he is known to have written, around 240 have survived, including 150 on philosophy and 40 on medicine.

His most famous works are ‘The Book of Healing’ – a philosophical and scientific encyclopedia, and ‘The Canon of Medicine’ – a medical encyclopedia which became a standard medical text at many medieval universities and remained in use as late as 1650.

Besides philosophy and medicine, Avicenna’s works include writings on astronomy, alchemy, geography and geology, psychology, Islamic theology, logic, mathematics, physics, music and poetry.

Another Iranian lot at the sale was a manuscript of Shahname (book of kings) by Ferdowsi. It was also sold for $4,306.

Hakim Abul-Qasim Ferdowsi Tusi (940–1020 CE) or Ferdowsi, is held in high esteem as one of the most influential Persian poets of all time, and an influential figure in Persian literature. His Shahnameh narrates the mythical and historical past of Iran from the beginning of the creation of the world to the Islamic conquest of Persia in 7th century AH. Christie’s, the world’s leading art business, holds around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including areas of fine and decorative arts, jewelry, photographs and collectibles.

It has a presence in 46 countries with 12 salerooms across the world, including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zurich, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Mumbai.

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