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Debbas Collection of works by Shafic Abboud covering six decades to highlight Christie's Dubai Sale
Mahmoud Said, Bergre Alamein, 1959. Oil on panel, 19.1/4 x 30.1/2in. Estimate: $400,000-600,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2014.

DUBAI.- Collectors are in for a rare treat this auction season as Christie’s Dubai will be offering 10 works by the leading Lebanese modernist Shafic Abboud (1926-2004) from the exceptional Beirut collection of Viviane & Robert Debbas. Mostly large compositions in Abboud’s distinctive, abstract hand, each work is a study in his 60-year experiment in the search for the essence of light through colour. The collection is expected to realize around $2million and will be the highlight of the sale of Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art to be held by Christie’s at the Emirates Towers Hotel on October 21. The Debbas Collection will be shown during the 3-day-long free, public exhibition alongside works in the various owners sale by Mahmoud Sad, Fateh Moudarres, Parviz Tanavoli, Hamed Owais, Mahmoud Mokhtar, Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, Paul Guiragossian and Sohrab Sepehri.

An auction of Fine Watches will be held the following evening, October 22. This sale will be highlighted by two tourbillon watches by Harry Winston and a handful of pens, exquisitely decorated with fine jewels.

For the second year, a special online-only sale of works from this category will run from 16-30th of October on, making buying works by leading artists from the region even more accessible. Works by Lateefa bint Maktoum, Effat Naghi, Louay Kayyali, Burhan Kum, Chant Avedissian, and Youssef Nabil will all be included. Finally, Christie’s Education will run a special 2-day course on the International Art Market.

Three spectacular paintings by the father of modern Egyptian art, Mahmoud Sad (1897-1964), will lead the various owners sale on October 21. These canvases include the exquisite and rare Bergre Alamein which was originally in the private collection of Dr. Tharawat Okasha, Egyptian Minister of Culture from 1959 to 1964. Using a luminous yellow pigment soaked with sunlight for the ground, heightened by an immaculate white for the hills in the background, both complemented by a pure bright blue tone of the sea, Sad manages to reflect the distinctive colours of El-Alamein, the Mediterranean town in the Matrouh Governorate in Egypt. The ‘bergre’ or ‘shepherdess’ embodies one of Sad’s recurring subjects, that of the Egyptian ‘fellaha’ or ‘peasant’. Paying homage to the shepherdess by placing her on the donkey’s back on top of the hill, proudly dominating the entire scenery, Sad offers her a sense of nobility with her fiery red dress and deep blue cloak. As such, the artist seeks to capture the essence of true Egyptian female beauty, as he did in his numerous paintings of ‘fellahas’. It is expected to sell for $400,000-600,000.

The second of the three works by Mahmoud Sad, Aprs la pluie, au Liban painted in 1954, depicts an expansive landscape in Lebanon, where he often went on holiday (estimate: $200,000-300,000). The unconventional, aerial composition with its carefully chosen palette and the dramatic light emanating from the sunlit scene following a rain-shower, exemplifies Sad’s skill as a colourist - with warm, earthy orange colours in the foreground, luminous green pigments at the middle of the composition leading on to the atmospheric grey, white and light blue tones in the background. A small preparatory work for this composition is on display at the Mahmoud Sad Museum Collection in Alexandria.

Le Chat Blanc or Belles de Bahari , is the last of the three Sad’s and shows veiled women beside Alexandria’s corniche with fishermen in the background. A white cat sits in the foreground. It is expected to sell for $80,000-120,000.

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