TEHRAN - The 8th edition of Tehran Auction contemporary art sale broke a new record on Friday, January 12, signalling a flourishing market for contemporary Iranian art. The winter sale built on the success of its spring - 14.952 billion tomans to be exact, or over $3 million. Parsian Hotel was host to the 8th edition of Tehran Auction where the best of Iranian art ranging from established and emerging artists were introduced to art collectors and global audience. All the 120 modern and classical artworks sold out!
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Strange enough, the lots that held the highest price record this year didn't include A-listers such as Sepehri, Tanavoli, Ehsaei, Arabshahi, Kazemi, Mohasses, and Sadr, whose proceeds reached some 12 billion tomans last year. Instead, they included 24 first timers, mostly young emerging artists in search of recognition and fame.
However, it was a female artist whose work hammered the highest. Three contemporary artworks also sold for one billion tomans. They included a photograph taken from a military operation, codenamed Karbala 5, during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. Some 35 works also hammered above 100 million tomans.
Monir Farmanfarmaian's mind-melting work of mirror art sold for 1.3 billion tomans - the highest. This was the most expensive work of art ever created by the 95-year-old Iranian artist, who had a well-received museum opened in her name just last year.
Two other lots both sold for 1 billion tomans each: 61-year-old New York resident Kamran Yousefzadeh with his White Dome painting, and 54-year-old Farhad Moshiri with his Jugs canvas. His other painting, titled Little Black Bowl, hammered 550 million tomans as well.
Then it was 95-year-old Manoucher Yektai's abstract art painting which had no title and hammered 500 million tomans, taking the fifth place at this year's auction. His was followed by four others that sold above 400 million tomans: Three works sold for 460 million tomans each, paintings by the late Farideh Lashai, Reza Derakshani, and Hossein Zenderoudi. Aydin Aghdashloo's painting also hammered 440 million tomans.
At least 12 highlights also hammered above 200 million tomans:
Other lots hammering 95 million tomans were those of Parvaneh Etemadi, Alireza Espahbod, Marko Gregorian, and Avish Khebrehzadeh. There were also others which hammered from 80 million all the way down to 14 million tomans - the final bids.
The first of its kind in Iran, Tehran Auction was launched in 2012 as an independent and private initiative to support the domestic art market as a key basis for the international market. Holding two sales in one calendar year marks a first for the house. With 120 lots on offer, the auction created the opportunity for both young and emerging collectors and established collectors to participate in the art scene of the country and its affordable contemporary art market.
The auction of modern and contemporary Iranian art, which is jockeying to be among the big auctions in the Middle East, is an annual event. This year was different: the prices that were bid were astonishing for a country still struggling with international sanctions - exceeding all expectations.
The auction is run by Alireza Sami Azar, a former head of Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art, which has a hidden treasure of original works by the likes of Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Edvard Munch, Rene Magritte and Mark Rothko. Seyyed Mohammad Beheshti, Morteza Kazemi, Hojjatollah Ayoubi, Bita Farahi, Fereshteh Taerpour, Mehdi Karampour, Afshin Hashemi, Roozbeh Nematolahi as well as 700 artists and art collectors, journalists, and fans attended this year's auction.
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