Sotheby’s Gallery Comes to Dubai


Fahrelnissa Zeid, Towards a Sky, 1953

Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744 and will now have a permanent presence in the UAE. Sotheby’s will officially launch the Sotheby’s Dubai gallery space and office on 14 March 2017 led by a preview of Modern and contemporary Arab and Iranian artworks from the London 20th Century Art / Middle East auction.

Located in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a district with galleries showcasing a diverse range of artwork and culture across the region and globally, Sotheby’s Dubai will present an expanded programme of year-round events. Some of these events will include selling and non-selling exhibitions, events and talks, reflecting the spectrum of Sotheby’s international sales and extensive client services. The office will complement the existing network of offices across the region.

“We will officially launch Sotheby’s Dubai gallery and office space with the most expansive exhibition in our 40-year history of serving our clients in the Middle East. Providing a special preview to our clients in the region we will be unveiling, for the first time on their global pre-sale exhibition tour, outstanding artworks of rarity and exceptional quality, and extraordinary objects – from historic treasures of the Islamic world to exceptional jewellery and watches.” – Edward Gibbs, Chairman of Sotheby’s Middle East & India

Coinciding with the official opening of Sotheby’s Dubai’s gallery space and office is its forthcoming exhibition, the largest and most wide-ranging exhibition to date. This will open to the public on 14 March 2017 – led by a preview of Modern and Contemporary Arab and Iranian artworks from the London 20th Century Art / Middle East auction.

Bringing together worldwide highlights from Sotheby’s international auction calendar spanning the forthcoming season, the exhibition will star highly sought-after masterpieces by celebrated artists from the region alongside myriad pieces of historical importance and a selection of extraordinary jewellery and watches. The view will take place at Level 1, Gate Village building 3, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), UAE from 14 to 19 March 2017. The exhibition is open to the public from 10 AM to 8 PM (please note an early closing time of 5 PM on 18 and 19 March 2017) with events ranging from gallery tours to a book launch with Rose Issa and Juliet Cestar.

Sneak Peek: Upcoming Sotheby’s Exhibition

20th Century Art / Middle East

A vibrant and exciting international platform for modern and contemporary arts from North Africa, Turkey, the Middle East and Iran in London, Sotheby’s 20th Century Art / Middle East auction will take place on 25 April in London. The auction will prominently feature seminal works by important female artists from Fahrelnissa Zeid and Madiha Omar to Samia Halaby and Monir Farmanfarmaian. The sale will also comprise of celebrated artists with a strong institutional presence, led by a museum-quality work by world-renowned modern master Bahman Mohasess.

One of the most influential female Turkish artists, Princess Fahrelnissa Zeid’s dynamic works embody a fusion of influences from Islamic, Byzantine, Arab and Persian art combined with stylistic elements from post-war Europe such as Fauvism and cubism. Best known for her large-scale abstract paintings, Towards a Sky is the second largest of her works to appear at auction and its sheer size achieves a kind of painterly tour de force. Her seminal masterpiece, Towards a Sky was painted in 1953 in London while Zeid was living there with her husband H.R. Prince Emir bin Zeid – who was assigned to the UK as the first Iraqi ambassador. The work was exhibited at a ground-breaking solo show at the Institute of contemporary Art in London – whose opening was attended by the Queen of England – making Zeid one of the first and few female artists to exhibit there. The kaleidoscopic canvas was so tall that the ceiling height at the ICA was not sufficient, and one third of the painting was rolled up. Following this, Towards a Sky received huge publicity within London’s art scene and is now appearing on the market for the first time since it was last seen at Lord’s Gallery in 1957. Zeid kept a photograph of this painting in a frame at her bedside until she passed away in 1991.


Mahmoud Saïd, Portrait de Madame Batanouni Bey, 1923

Arts of the Islamic World

With a focus on artistic production under Islamic patronage, Sotheby’s Arts of the Islamic World auction in London on 26 April covers more than a thousand years of artwork spanning multiple continents – including works from prestigious collections.


A gem-set and enameled gold necklace, North India, 19th century

Orientalist Art

Orientalism was essentially a 19th-century phenomenon. While many other movements in 19th-century European art were relatively short-lived, Orientalism’s durability lay in its versatility. Travelling from America and Europe to the lands known collectively in the 18th and 19th centuries as the Orient, artists aimed to capture sites, cultures and the bright desert light that few had experienced before. Orientalist art sheds light on the history of these lands – encompassing Morocco in the west through Egypt, Istanbul and the Levant to as Far East as Persia and India – from a time when photography was in its infancy and figurative art was not traditionally practised.


Eugène Girardet, A Desert Caravan

Magnificent Jewels

Honouring the history of jewellery design and its most discerning collections, Sotheby’s New York sale of Magnificent Jewels is led by renowned jewels with exceptional provenance. With an impressive selection of diamonds in various hues, the auction is a vibrant celebration perfect for spring.


Amethyst and Diamond Necklace and Earclips by Van Cleef & Arpels, the fringe necklace set with oval-shaped amethysts weighing approximately 280.00 carats and diamonds weighing approximately 55.00 carats

Vintage and Modern Timepieces

Offering the finest vintage and modern timepieces to discerning collectors around the world, Sotheby’s London sale of Watches includes rare and importance pieces by renowned watch makers.


Rolex stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with registrars and bracelet, circa 1971

Schedule of Events

14 March 2017, 12 PM, Sotheby’s Dubai
Gallery Tour of the Highlights with Sotheby’s specialists (public event)

16 March 2017, 12 PM, Sotheby’s Dubai
Gallery Tour of the Highlights with Sotheby’s specialists (public event)

18 March 2017, 11 AM, Sotheby’s Dubai
Book launch with Rose Issa and Juliet Cestar in conversation about their book Signs of our Times (public event)

For more information, please visit:
Read more on (page 18-25).


Leave a Reply