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World records tumble at Bonhams Egypt's Awakening sale
Fille à l’imprimé by Mahmoud Said (1897-1964). Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Fille à l’imprimé by Mahmoud Said (1897-1964), the father of Egyptian modernism, set a new world record at auction for a portrait by the artist at Bonhams Egypt’s Awakening sale in London today (18 April). It realised £512,750 after a four-way bidding battle. The painting, which was executed in 1938, had never been offered at auction befor. It is considered Said’s most iconic portrait, and a defining work in the history of Egyptian 20th century art.

Other world records from the sale included:

• Surrealist Woman by Fouad Kamel (1919-1999) achieved £218,750, making it a world record for the artist, after it was estimated at £20,000-30,000. Kamel is leading figure in the Egyptian surrealist movement and a founder member of Art et Liberté in the late 1930s which campaigned against Fascist and Nazi moves to supress freedom of artistic expression.

• Self-Portrait with Cello by Ahmed Morsi sold for £37,500 after an estimate of £8,000-12,000 equalling the previous world record.

Further highlights in the sale were:

• Le Canal de Mahmoudieh by Mahmoud Said achieved £100,000, after an estimate of £50,000-80,000.

• The Tamboura Player, Hussein Bicar (1913-2002) achieved £60,000, after an estimate of £35,000-50,000.

Bonhams Head of Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art, Nima Sagharchi said, “Fille à l’imprimé is a wonderful painting by the father of Egyptian modernism, Mahmoud Said, and the impressive price paid indicates that Said still remains Egypt’s most valuable 20th century artist.

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