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Posted On: 15 March 2009 11:29 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Sotheby’s auction set to break records

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Sotheby’s first major international auction series in the region, which begins on March 18 in Doha, is all set to break records with extraordinary pieces of art up for sale. The Pearl Carpet of Baroda, a historic, unique and magnificent work of craftsmanship, has already acquired a record status with the bid starting from $5m. The record bid so far for a carpet is $4.5m. The Pearl Carpet will surpass this record with ease. The opening of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha last November had brought many Islamic and Arab artefacts back to the place of their origin. With the inaugural auction by Sotheby’s in the country, the Pearl Carpet of Baroda has also returned to its roots. The carpet is made out of 2.2 million Basra pearls, which were collected from the seas around Qatar and Bahrain in the golden days of pearl hunting. These pearls were taken to Basra, a famous trading point when the carpet was made in the 19th century. Apart from pearls, the carpet is embellished with 12,000 rubies, 600 emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds, all sewed into dear hide and silk. The carpet, which is sure to wow many, shows the splendour, opulence and wealth of the Maharaja of Baroda, who was once one of the richest people in the world. It also shows the extraordinary dedication and skill of those involved in the work. Added to this is the Art of The Islamic World collection, which includes a piece that had excited the specialists at Sotheby’s. The early 17th century Safavid velvet panel is a rarity at auctions. The last similar piece was auctioned in 1998, almost 10 years ago. The realistic features and painting technique make the works of Rudolf Ernst the most expensive Orientalist art in the series. The works, A Hard Bargain, The Waterpipe Smoker and The Presentation, give viewers the feel of the rich interior decoration shown in the paintings. A trained eye can also see the blood vessels underneath the skin of the subjects and many other minute aspects of the works, because of which one can never get tired of viewing them. The artist’s work with oil truly captures reality on canvas. So does the work of Otto Pilny, who has painted the different stages of prayer, capturing the sunlight and the landscape of the desert. The paintings in the series offer a historical view of some of the modern cities of today. The Contemporary Art collection also boasts of similarly riveting historical works like Round Jackie and a number of works by Arab artists, including the works of four Qatari artists. One of the items on sale is an untitled work by Anish Kapoor. The piece, which is merely a painted stainless steel concave object, has so much sophistication that one is surprised at the depth and resonance it creates as a person approaches it. The Watches sale includes many pieces made for the Gulf customer. The lots include a magnificent white gold and diamond-set Breguet wristwatch which is one of the finest jewellery watches by Audemars Piguet to have appeared for auction. These and many more unique pieces will make the Sotheby’s first major venture in Qatar a record breaking event.