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The Orientalists

The Orientalists

Bonhams to auction a collection of rare Orientalist paintings and works of art in Dubai.

May 7, 2009 3:46 by

London-based auction house Bonhams is organizing the sale of a collection of Orientalist art in Dubai on May 11. The sale of these works in the UAE – which were created for a European clientele – is significant, said Matthew Girling, CEO of Bonhams for Europe. “It’s inevitable that the geological accident of oil being found here is providing wealth for people to bring these works back. It’s wonderful, really, that the people, the subjects that were painted by these European artists, are now going to take them back.

Pieces that stand out in the collection include The Carpet Seller by Austrian painter Rudolph Swoboda. The piece is expected to fetch between $500,000 and $700,000, although the owner was oblivious of its value.

“That’s sometimes the case”, said Giles Peppiatt, director of Orientalist Art at Bonhams. “Some people nowadays are just unaware of what they have. And you’ll go to someone who has a piece that might be worth half a million dollars and they would have sold it for probably $5,000; they just don’t know.”

Bonhams is also displaying decorative pieces with Middle Eastern influences for the first time in the region. “The decorative features of some of them draw on influences from the Middle East”, explained Girling. Pointing to Lot 61 – a set of Victorian electroplated candelabra centerpieces – he added, “The deer at the bottom which is typical to Scotland, is standing next to what is effectively a palm tree.  So it’s a kind of mish-mash of the idea of introducing the exotic into what was traditional European design. This has elements of Middle Eastern and European design kind of all going on at the same time.  It demonstrates some of the influences that were coming over and were then being put into decorative objects.”

Bonhams set up its Dubai office in 2007. Its inaugural sale in 2008 broke 33 world records and raised $13 million.

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1 Comment

  1. Oil painting techniques on January 11, 2010 11:19 am

    “In listening to a concert, the music-lover experiences a joy qualitatively different from that experienced in listening to natural sounds, such as the murmur of a stream… Similarly [modern] painters provide … artistic sensations due exclusively to the harmony of lights and shades and independent of the subject depicted in the picture.”– Parisian art critic and poet Guillaume Apollinaire, On the Subject in Modern Painting, 1912.


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