Tehran Auction’s Second Contemporary Sale This Year Signals Flourishing Market

The Iranian contemporary art sale builds on the success of its $7.4 million spring auction.

Nazar Mosaviniya, Untitled (1994). Courtesy Tehran Auction.

Building on the success of its $7.4 million spring auction of classic and modern Iranian art, Tehran Auction will hold a second sale on December 23 at the Espinas Palace Hotel in Tehran, offering a wide range of contemporary Iranian art by artists including Farhad Moshiri, Reza Derakshani, and Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, the latter of whom had a well-received Guggenheim show in 2015. Holding two sales in one calendar year marks a first for the house.

“The Iranian art market is currently flourishing both inside Iran and internationally,” said Tehran Auction lead specialist Sami Azar, the former director of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, in an email to artnet News.

With roughly 120 lots on offer, the auction “creates the opportunity for both young and emerging collectors and established collectors to participate in the art scene of the country,” through its affordable contemporary art market, said spokesperson Nina Moaddel.

Farhad Moshiri, <i>Black Numbers on White</i> (2002). Courtesy Tehran Auction.

Farhad Moshiri, Black Numbers on White (2002). Courtesy Tehran Auction.

Among the expected highlights are Moshiri’s painting Black Numbers on White (2002) which carries an estimate of IRR 6 billion–8 billion ($200,000–265,000).

Moshiri who has gained international renown, had work on view at the most recent Art Basel in Miami Beach. Moshiri’s record at auction is over $1 million, set at Bonhams Dubai in 2008, according to the artnet Price Database.

Farhad Moshiri<i>Sleep Fragile Flower</i> (2003).Courtesy Tehran Auction.

Farhad Moshiri Sleep Fragile Flower (2003).Courtesy Tehran Auction.

Another Moshiri work on offer is Sleep Fragile Flower (2003) a mixed media on canvas signed in both Farsi and English, which carries an estimate of IRR 3.5 billion–5 billion ($116,000–166,000).

Other expected highlights include an untitled painting by Manoucher Yektai that has an estimate of IRR 4 billion–6 billion ($133,000–200,000) .

Manoucher Yektai<i>Untitled</i> (1964). Courtesy Tehran Auction.

Manoucher Yektai Untitled (1964). Courtesy Tehran Auction.

A triptych by Farideh Lashai, Untitled from the Dr. Mosaddegh series (2004) carries an estimate of IRR 3.5 billion–5,000,000,000 ($116,000–166,000).

Farideh Lashai, <i>Untitled from the Dr. Mosaddegh series</i> (2004) .Courtesy Tehran Auction.

Farideh Lashai, Untitled from the Dr. Mosaddegh series (2004) .Courtesy Tehran Auction.

And a painting by Derakshani, Green × Green Hunt (2011), is estimated at IRR 3 billion–4 billion ($100,000–133,000),

Reza Derakshani<i>Green × Green Hunt</i> (2011). Courtesy Tehran Auction.

Reza Derakshani Green × Green Hunt (2011). Courtesy Tehran Auction.

Moaddel noted that this sale features lower entry points to the market as compared with the sale this past May. That auction, held at the Parisian Azadi hotel, boasted a top price of $996,000 for an untitled oil on canvas by Sohrab Sepehri from the 1970s.

Azar said the starting point of the current market was 2006 “when Christie’s held its first ever auction in the region,” and the number of galleries in Tehran has been increasing ever since.

In addition to established, older collectors, Azar said “there has been a wave of emerging art collectors, mostly young, well-educated with a wealthy family background.”

Asked which artists are most in demand, he ticked off modern masters such as Sepehri, Parviz Tanavoli, Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, Mohammad Ehsai, and Yektai. For contemporary he noted, Moshiri, Derakshani, and Lashai, as well as Afshin Pirhashemi, and Mahmoud Bakhsi.


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