Artnet Launches Middle Eastern Art Auctions

BY Anna Brady / Feb 23 2017 / 18:08 PM

Reflecting the growing market for Contemporary Middle Eastern art, the online auction platform expands into the field with its inaugural sale as part of an effort to “tap into growing international markets”

Artnet Launches Middle Eastern Art Auctions
Zahhāk, 2012. Pouya Afshar. Acrylic on fabric. Estimate $7,000-10,000
Artnet Launches Middle Eastern Art Auctions
Clozaril, 2013. Alpin Arda Bagcik. Oil on canvas. Estimate $6,000-8,000

The sale of nearly 40 lots is now live and online bidding continues until Monday, 27 February. It includes the work of well-known artists such as Hayv Kahraman, Pouya Afshar, Jeffar Khaldi, Shirin Neshat, Walid Siti, Driss Ouadahi, Yazan Khalili, Asad Faulwell, Youssef Nabil, Farhad Ahrarnia, and Alpin Arda Bagcik.

The auction has been put together by Artnet’s senior specialist and Middle Eastern art expert, Bibi Zavieh, previously of Christie’s Dubai.

Artnet plans to hold three to four sales dedicated to Middle Eastern art per year with, says Zavieh, “several tighter themed auctions throughout the year, which will present cross-category sales between the Middle Eastern art department and other departments such as Photography”

Kour Pour

Mousepad, 2014. Kour Pour. Inkjet and acrylic on canvas laid over panel. Estimate $2500-3500

Launching the sales was a natural step for Artnet, “given the rising expansion of Middle Eastern art globally, the rising number of museum exhibitions and acquisitions around the world dedicated to this field, and the number of talented artists coming out of the region, particularly with growing presentation in international galleries.”

She has seen “greater international awareness and growing demand” for the art of the region recently and thinks the time is right to expand it to the online auction platform. “After having spent many years working within the structure of a traditional auction house, it seemed to me that the online platform offered greater reach and visibility for Middle Eastern Contemporary art.”


Colour Correction 2, 2007–2010. Yazan Khalili. Lightjet print on Kodak Premier paper. Estimate $8,000-10,000

Zavieh cites exhibitions such as the Monir Farmanfarmaian retrospective at the Guggenheim New York last year, the Parviz Tanavoli exhibition at the Davis Museum, also in the US, and most recently the exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians, showcasing highlights from Mohammed Afkhami’s personal collection of Middle Eastern art.

“Also this year, we will see further exhibitions such as the Farhad Moshiri exhibition at the Andy Warhol Foundation in Pittsburgh, the touring exhibition of Barjeel Art Foundation, and the touring exhibition on Egyptian Surrealism that just closed at the Centre George Pompidou in Paris,” she continues, “We also see a growing number of fairs having special focuses on this region and a growing number of important galleries, such as Emmanuel Perrotin, Thaddeus Ropac, Gagosian, taking artists from the region on board.”

She thinks more collectors, both young and established, are adding works by artists from the region to their collection, “from North America and Europe, to the Middle East and countries like China, Japan or Australia.”

Bidding continues until Monday, 27 February, 2017. To view the sale, visit