During a sale on 20 October by Christie’s Dubai, a painting by an artist from the region - Fahr El-Nissa Zeid’s Break of the Atom and Vegetal Life - sold for $2,741,000 (AED10,064,952). This is the second highest price ever to be made on a work by a Middle Eastern artist, after Parviz Tanavoli’s bronze sculpture Wall (Oh Persepolis) sold in 2008 for $2.8 million.
The sale of the piece by Fahr El-Nissa Zeid (Turkish / Jordanian, 1900-1991) also makes her the highest valued female artist from the Middle East, far surpassing the previous record for her work of $1 million.
Christie's official press release announced the sale on Tuesday evening, shortly after closing the first day of The Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art sale that spans two days.
The press release elaborated that the Break of the Atom and Vegetal Life, painted in 1962, is considered the most important work by the artist.
Inspired by a synthesis of Islamic calligraphic aesthetic traditions, Fahr El-Nissa Zeid employs an intricate use of colours and lines in a monumental and harmonious composition, whereby purples morph into violets, and greens, reds and blues ring with violent blacks.
The Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art sale will continue tomorrow evening, Wednesday 30 October, 7pm, at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel and the part III online-only sale runs until November 11.
Painting by Fahr El-Nissa Zeid 'Break of the Atom and Vegetal Life' (Photo: from Christie's catalog, courtesy Christie's Dubai)