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Etel Adnan Leads Christie's $2.55m 'Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art' Auction in London

3 min read  · 09 Nov 2023

Untitled by Etel Adnan sold for $263,100. Image courtesy of Christie's

A work by Etel Adnan was the headline sale at Christie's 'Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art' auction on November 9 in King Street, London

  • The sale totaled $2.55m, exceeding the pre-sale high estimate.

Snapshot of the sale

  • 50 works sold totaling $2.55m.

  • Estimates totaled: $1.52m (low) and $2.21m (high), excluding premiums.

  • The sell-through rate was 86% of the original 58 lots announced.

The star lot was: Etel Adnan, Untitled (2003), which sold for $263,100, 250% above its $72,800 low estimate. It has been traded once in the past.

The outperformer sold for 500% above its low estimate. Alfred Basbous, Sensual (1972), sold for $61,900 ($9,709 low estimate). It has been traded once in the past.

Breakdown of results against auction house estimates that are disclosed

  • 32 works, or 64%, sold above their high estimate.

  • 18 works, or 36%, sold within their low and high estimate.

  • 0 works, or 0%, sold below their low estimate.

  • 0 sold with undisclosed estimates.

Guaranteed sales

No works had a guarantee.

Works that did not sell

5 works were bought-in, including: Abdel Hadi El-Gazzar, Abstraction (1955), estimated at $48,500 (low) to $72,800 (high). It has not been traded before.

Withdrawn before the sale

3 works were withdrawn before the sale, including: Ayman Baalbaki, Al Moulatham (2012), estimated at $97,100 (low) to $145,600 (high).

Terms and definitions

All results include the fees and premiums added to the price of a work of art when the auctioneer's hammer falls. Sale prices are compared to the auction house’s low estimate, which do not include premiums.

Guarantees: Sometimes an auction house guarantees to pay a seller for a work, regardless of whether the bidding reaches the reserve price, a figure that is typically confidential.

Bought-in: If there are no bids for a work, or if bidding falls short of the reserve price, the lot is unsold or “bought-in”.

Withdrawn: This happens when a seller decides, for whatever reason, to withdraw a work before the bidding begins.

Premiums: Typically a sliding-scale of charges paid in addition to the hammer price by the buyer, plus any other fees.


Etel Adnan