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

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

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Withdrawn before the sale

3 works were withdrawn before the sale, including: Ayman Baalbaki, Al Moulatham (2012), estimated at $97,100 (low) to $145,600 (high).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Withdrawn: This happens when a seller decides, for whatever reason, to withdraw a work before the bidding begins.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.