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Sotheby's Reveals Full Depth and Range of Works to Be Featured in "Hurouf: The Art of the World"
Zoulikha Boubabdellah (Russian), Hobb (Love), aluminium, 2010. Estimate: USD$6,000-8,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Following Sotheby’s June announcement of ‘Hurouf: The Art of the Word’, its landmark calligraphic auction which will take place at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, Doha on the 16 December, 2010, Sotheby’s is delighted to reveal further details about the sale. The 145-lot auction will showcase works by over 65 artists from 24 countries, with 82 pieces in the sale which are contemporary interpretations of calligraphy. The entire auction carries a pre-sale estimate of in excess of USD$4 million. The auction takes place in the year that Doha is Doha: Arab Capital of Culture 2010.

‘Hurouf: The Art of the Word’ traces the developments of the Arabic script from its inception, with kufic leaves dating from the 8th century, through popular calligraphy of the 19th century to the highest calibre works by international calligraphers working today. In selecting some of the most talented, revered and innovative calligraphers working with the Arabic script from, among others, Japan, the United States, Turkey, the Middle East, China and the Indian Sub- Continent, the auction aims to represent the developments of an art form that has entered its second millennium. The sale features monumental pieces on canvas, in bronze and neon too, by – among others - leading artists such as Farhad Moshiri, Ahmed Moustafa, Parviz Tanavoli, Hassan Massoudy, Mohammed Ehsai, Ali Omar Ermes, Sadequain and Laila Shawa, and of particular relevance to Qatar are local artists Yousef Ahmad and Ali Hassan and resident artist MF Hussain.

Dalya Islam, Deputy Director, Sotheby’s Middle East and India Department, commented: “We are delighted to present Hurouf: The Art of the Word in Doha during its Year of Arab Culture, and place on the world stage a first by an international auction house, a retrospective of calligraphy through the ages, highlighting the very genesis of this technique, for private and institutional collectors and buyers of art to acquire, for students and the interested and appreciating public to study and enjoy. We believe that the regional cultural hub of Doha will provide the best platform to present such a themed sale.”

Prior to their sale on December 16, the works will go on public display in Doha at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel from 13 December.

Highlights include:
• Sadequain (Pakistani), Surah Al Rahman, oil and ink on canvas, 1985, 97.7cm x 152cm (Est. USD $60,000-80,000). A master of calligraphy, Sadequain fast became one of Pakistan’s most celebrated artists. This outstanding example of his work illustrates his radical departure from established calligraphic norms.

• Ahmed Moustafa (Egyptian), Isra wa Mi’raj (The Night Journey and Ascension), oil and watercolour on 638sm cotton paper mounted on canvas, in two parts, 2010. Overall size: 240 cms x 297cms. (Est: USD $700,000–900,000). The work strives to give expression to a heavenly, angelic celebration, in which visible forms assume the role of sounds, in which meanings assume the hue of colours, while all is imbued with the scent of camphor and musk, and engulfed with a sprinkling of the dew of eternal life in which there is no ‘where’ or ‘in between’, and in which absolute goodness reigns supreme. (Dr Stefan Sperl, SOAS)

• Farhad Moshiri (Iranian), 095TTV, oil, acrylic, gold leaf and glue on canvas, 2005. Size 174.4cm by 269.5cm. (Est: USD$100,000-150,000). In this canvas, Moshiri cleverly combines the modern fundamentally western aesthetic of Abstract Expressionism with an essentially Islamic concept of numerology, and the final result is both a subtle commentary and an elegant work of art.

• Mohammad Ehsai (Iranian), Untitled, oil on canvas, 1962, size 89 by 179.5cm. (Est: USD$250,000-350,000). This is an extremely rare, monumental and early work by Mohammed Ehsai.

• Ali Omar Ermes (Libyan), The Fourth Ode, acrylic on paper mounted on canvas, 1993, size 250cm by 302.3cm. (Est: USD$250,000-250,000). This is the largest work ever to be offered at public auction by this eminent calligrapher and in it the artist’s fascination with Arabic letter forms is truly captured in this monumental homage to the further ode of the Mu’allaqat al Saba’a, the famed Prize Poems.

• Laila Shawa (Palestinian), Against the Wall (From Walls of Gaza III Series), digital print and mixed media on canvas, 1989-2009. (Est: USD$20,000-25,000)

• Yousef Ahmad (Qatari), Movement of Letter, mixed media on canvas, 179.5cm by 179.2cm (Est. USD$30,000-50,000).

• An Important External Curtain (Burqa) of the Holy Ka'ba Door dedicated to Sultan Abd al-Majid (r.1839-61), Ottoman Turkey, dated 1263 AH/1846-7 AD, silk with applied silver and silver-gilt thread, 530 by 270cm; 208 3/4 by 106 1/4in. (Est: USD$200,000-300,000).

• Hamid Aytac, A Monumental Illuminated Hilye, Ottoman Turkey, signed 'Azmi Hamid al-Amidi (Hamid Aytac), early 20th century. (Est: USD$80,000-120,000).

• Arif Kilani, A Gold Calligraphic Shamsa, Iran. Signed and dated 1428 AH/2007 AD. (Est. USD$7,000-10,000).

Also included in the sale is a bronze sculpture by Rachid Koraïchi (Algerian) entitled Ahmed Ezaatar – measuring 201cm by 164cm by 105.5cm it his largest sculpture ever to be offered at public auction. It is also one of his most important works to date and is of museum quality (Est: USD$180,000-250,000).

Sotheby's | Dalya Islam | "Hurouf: The Art of the World" |

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