Is contemporary Middle Eastern art the next big thing? Individuals who took part in a conference organized by ArtTactic yesterday think so. The signs are already here-- Arab and Iranian art at auction has increased from £1million in 2006 to £17million so far in 2008. It is expected that those figures could more than double by the end of the year. Average prices have increased by 260% over that span of time period.
Christie's spearheaded this growth with their first auction in Dubai in March 2006, followed by Bonhams' inaugural Dubai sale earlier this year. Sotheby's has long held specialized sales in London, but has just established an office in Qatar, and will be touring highlights from its Oct 23 sale in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. Phillips de Pury & Co recently appointed a director for its new office in Dubai. This all adds up to significant investment in the market for contemporary Middle Eastern art.
On as a side note, both Christie's and Phillips will be including Middle Eastern artists in their international contemporary art sales which will take place during the Frieze Art Fair.
Link of Interest:
Art sales: Art blossoms in the desert