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Warhol, Asian art at Christie's 1st West Asia auction

By Staff
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KUWAIT, May 5 (Reuters) Auction house Christie's said it would hold its inaugural West Asia auction this month in Dubai, with contemporary and modern Arab, Asian and Western art, including work by icons like Andy Warhol.

Christie's officials told yesterday in a news conference in Kuwait that this was to be the first sale of its kind in the region and aims to make the West Asia a key part of the international art market.

''The auction offers an unparalleled opportunity to assert Christie's as a principal player in the new and exciting art market which is emerging in the region,'' Christie's CEO Edward Dolman said in a statement.

Some 128 paintings, sculptures, prints and photographs from across the Arab world, Iran, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the West will be up for sale at the May 24 public auction.

The works include two prints by Warhol, including ''The Double Mona Lisa'' of 1978 which is expected to fetch as much as 160,000 dollars. India's Syed Haider Raza is displaying four paintings, of which ''Sourya'' is seen with a price tag of up to 600,000 dollars.

''Early indications show that there is a very high level of interest,'' Paul Hewitt, a director at London-based Christie's, told the conference.

''We are looking at new markets,'' he said, adding that Christie's looks to extend future auctions to include Islamic art, jewellery, fine watches and motor cars.

Some items are priced to start as low as 3,500 dollars, in order ''to appeal to different kinds of people'', Hewitt said.

Notable Arab artists whose works are in this sale include Iraq's Dia Al-Azzawi, Egypt's Ahmed Moustafa, and the late Fateh Moudarres of Syria and Paul Guiragossian of Lebanon.

Cultural life in Iran is expressed in photographs by female artist Shadi Ghadirian while Jordanian female artist Mona Saudi showcases stone sculptures.

William Lawrie, a Christie's specialist in Islamic art, said that modern art of the West Asia and North Africa blossomed during the second half of the 20th century in the post-colonial era following World War II.

On offer also will be works by India's Francis Newton Souza who formed a new movement in modern Indian art. Among his works, ''The Green Landscape'' from 1960 and ''Monsoon'' from 1958 are set to fetch up to 150,000 dollars and 220,000 dollars, respectively.

Reuters CH DB0957

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