For the first time in the region, Sotheby’s Dubai will hold an exhibition showcasing works from its contemporary art auctions in New York worth $45 million. The major auction takes place biannually, in May and November, and sets the benchmark for the global art market.
The contemporary masterpieces on view will include works by Italian artist Alighiero Boetti and 28 complete sets of prints from internationally renowned pop artist Andy Warhol. There will also be a section showing Sotheby’s watches and Egyptian-themed jewellery by Tiffany & Co.
The exhibition will be on view at the Sotheby’s gallery in the Dubai International Financial Centre from September 26 to 29, before travelling to New York and Geneva to be auctioned.
Here are some of the works included in the auction.
‘Mappa’ (Map) by Alighiero Boetti (1989-1991)
Italian conceptual artist Boetti’s monumental work Mappa, from his series on the study of maps, is inspired by non-western art and culture.
After travelling to Africa, South America, East and Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan in particular, Boetti was influenced by concepts and techniques that he incorporated into his work and practice.
Boetti conceptualised the idea for his large-scale maps during a visit to Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1971. He stayed in the country, and then moved to an Afghan refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan, to complete the series. Written on the borders of the work is a dedication to the group of craftsmen who helped Boetti create the work. Woven in Italian and English are the words “Made in Peshawar Pakistan by Afghan people in 1989 and 90 and 91.”
The work and the whole series are a record of changes to the physical borders and flags of nations around the world, turning the pieces into an archival account of the geopolitics of the time.
'Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom' (1985)
This series of renowned coloured portraits of Queen Elizabeth II by Andy Warhol is glamorous and imposing, and illustrates Warhol’s commentary on fame and celebrity.
The source of the work is an official photographic portrait taken of the queen for her silver jubilee, which Warhol recreated using bold lines and animated colours.
Celebrity, portraiture, consumerism and decoration, themes of Warhol’s work, are clearly illustrated in these prints, which form part of a series titled Reigning Queens.
‘Muhammad Ali’ (1978)
As part of his series Athletes, Warhol photographed boxer Muhammad Ali. The artist, who wasn’t interested in sports, was more attracted to the aspect of fame and cultural relevance that athletes became symbols of.
Ali had recently been named "sportsman of the century" by Sports llustrated and Warhol found him the perfect subject to capture who was not only in peak physical condition, dominating his field, but was also a major cultural figure.
From Chanel’s No 5 perfume and the Volkswagen Beetle to Apple computers, Warhol’s Ads portfolio reimages infamous adverts and the logos of globally recognised brands.
Warhol takes these symbols of consumerism to comment on the power of advertising while also elevating them to the status of high art.
Sotheby's Contemporary Art exhibition will also include jewellery as part of its Egyptomania segment. Egyptian-themed designs by Italian jewellery house Castellani and the work of renowned designer Louis Comfort from Tiffany for Tiffany & Co. These pieces will be unveiled in Dubai for the first time ahead of the sale. Selected timepieces from brands such as Rolex, Vacheron Constantin and Breguet will also be showcased.