Who Are the 25 Most Expensive Middle Eastern Artists at Auction?

Over the past decade, there has been significant growth in this market.

Farhad Moshiri, The Thinker (2011).
Photo: Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac.

If the Middle East’s profile in the art world is any indicator, there is reason for hope (see Are Islam and Contemporary Art Incompatible? I Went to Saudi Arabia To Find Out): since 2011, the sale of fine art by Middle Eastern artists has topped $399 million.

True, within the larger global context, the public auction market of Middle Eastern Fine Art remains relatively small, representing less than one percent of the fine art auction market by value since 2011. However, with auction powerhouses Christie’s and Sotheby’s entering the regional market beginning in 2006, we saw a significant increase in sales over the past decade of artworks by Middle Eastern artists (see Most Famous Middle Eastern Painting to be Sold at Christie’s).

In 2014 the sales value was nearly eight times’ what it was in 2004.

According to auction results reported to artnet, the highest-selling year for art by Middle Eastern artists was 2010, when sales soared to more than $139 million.

Who are the top artists in this market right now? artnet News was determined to find out.

With help from artnet’s Analytics team and the artnet Fine Art and Design Price Database, we combed through auction results from 2011 to the beginning of 2015. Below are our results. If you’re interested in learning more about these artists, their top lots, and past sales records, dip into the artnet Price Database Fine Art and Design and conduct your own investigation.



For more artnet News coverage of the Middle East, see:




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