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Bonhams Offer Important Works by Leading Egyptian Artists in Dubai Sale
Tahia Halim (Egypt, 1919-2003), `Two Girls’, estimated at $30,000-50,000. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- A work by Ahmed Moustafa Egypt’s leading contemporary artist will be one of the star lots in Bonhams next sale of Middle Eastern Contemporary art in Dubai on October 11.

‘Man in a rocking chair’ was executed early on in the artist’s early career and is estimated to sell for $180,000-$240,000 at the Bonhams auction in Dubai. Bonhams latest sale of South Asian and Middle East Art at the Royal Mirage Hotel in Dubai is proving to be a showcase for leading Egyptian artists.

Ahmed Moustafa was born in Egypt in 1943 and started his artistic life as a figurative artist in the classical European tradition. As a young man his works received high praise and he was awarded numerous prizes for his paintings and sculpture, including prizes at the Alexandria biennials of 1968 and 1973. He moved to the UK in 1974 and it was there that he returned to his Islamic roots and developed his characteristic style based on texts and the script of the Qur’an. He has had a number of exhibitions in Britain and throughout the Middle East and his works can be found in some of the most important collections in the Middle East and beyond.

Bonhams Head of Contemporary South Asian and Middle East Art, Mehreen Rizvi, comments: “We are very pleased with the offering in this sale with its very strong works by Egypt’s leading artists. If current trends continue I expect an exciting sale with more records achieved. It gives Bonhams great satisfaction to promote Egyptian art and that of the Middle East and South Asia, bringing this work to the wider world’s attention via sales in London, New York as well as Dubai.”

Bonhams Dubai sales have regularly made world record prices for artists from across the region. In March 2008 Fahrad Moshiri’s work Eshgh ‘Love’ was the first work by a Middle Eastern artist to achieve $1m at auction. Gulgee’s Polo Players sold for $339,000, a world record for an auctioned Pakistani work. Bonham’s last Dubai sale on October 12th 2009 also posted good results for works by Indian artists, such as a work by F.N. Souza (1924-2002), which sold for $86,000.

A further six Egyptian artists will feature in the October 11 sale in Dubai including:

* Hamed Nada (Egypt, 1924-1990),`Tying him down to her’, oil on canvas, estimated at $60,000-80,000. The work, dating from the early 1980’s, comes from an important private collection, Cairo, Egypt.

* Tahia Halim (Egypt, 1919-2003) there are two images,
`Two Girls’, estimated at $30,000-50,000 and
`Three Girls’, at $25,000-35,000.

* Adham Wanly (Egypt, 1908-1959) Nocturne Dabaka Dancers, oil on board, signed and dated '56, estimated at $25,000-35,000. The dabka, literally 'stamping of the feet' is a type of line dance popular at weddings and celebrations throughout the Middle East. In Wanly's work the figures are gracefully depicted, appearing almost to float across the canvas.

* Seif Wanly (Egypt, 1906-1979), Spanish ballet dancers, oil on board, on the reverse is a label dedicating this work to the ex-Governor of Alexandria, Mr. Hussein Sobhy. It is estimated to sell for $15,000-25,000. Hussein Sobhy was an important figure in the Alexandrian arts scene, so much so that the museum of Fine Arts in Alexandria was once known as the Hussein Sobhy Museum. Although this work is undated it has been suggested that this work was executed around 1965.

* Adel El-Siwi (Egypt, born 1952), Umm Kalthom, acrylic on canvas, estimated at $15,000-25,000.

* Kamel Moustafa (Egypt, 1917-1982),`Cairo street scene’, estimated at $15,000-20,000. Although this work is undated it has been suggested that it was executed in the early 1950s.

Kamel Moustafa belongs to the second generation of Modern Egyptian artists who sit between the Pioneers such as Mahmoud Said, Youssef Kamel and Mohammed Naghi and the Surrealists, Abdul Hadi El-Gazzar, Samir Rafi and Hamed Nada.

Following the 1952 revolution this new group of artists found themselves operating in a new window of freedom whose aim was to express national personality through symbolism. They emphasised the aesthetics of the new Egyptian society, which for the first time had managed to break away from foreign rule, local nepotism and privileged society.

Samir Rafi (Egypt, 1926-2004), Untitled, $8,000-12,000, it is from an important private collection, Cairo, Egypt. This work was acquired by the current owner from an exhibition of Rafi's works held at the Palace of Arts Exhibition Pavilion, Cairo, in January 2005. It was exhibited at the Palace of Arts, Gezira, “Samir Rafi: Masterpieces” on show for the first time in 50 years, Cairo, 2005.

Bonhams | Mehreen Rizvi | Ahmed Moustafa |

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