LONDON.- Christie’s Arts of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, including Oriental Rugs and Carpets realised a total of £10,771,500/ $14,800,042 / €12,624,198, achieving sell-through rates of 96% by value and 82% by lot.
Sara Plumbly, Head of the Islamic Art Department, commented: “It was a great pleasure to have been part of the journey of this spectacular painting, formerly in the collection of Bonnet House Museum and Gardens. Bringing it to the market for the first time in over 100 years was a very special moment. It almost doubled its pre-sale estimate when it sold for over £2.3 million. Another highlight of the auction was a late 15th or early 16th century Veneto-Saracenic bucket, which was signed by the master Mahmud Al-Kurdi, and which tripled its pre-sale estimate when it sold for £1,822,500 / $2,504,115 / €2,135,970. Throughout the sale we saw very engaged bidding from 28 countries, across 4 continents.”
The top lot of the auction was the magnificent Qajar multiple portrait depicting the grandsons of Fath ‘Ali Shah in the Saf-e Salam, a Persian New Year (Norouz) procession. Attributable to the court artist ‘Abdullah Khan, this remarkable painting exemplifies the glory of the Qajar era, and established a new world auction record for any Qajar painting, realising £2,302,500 / $3,163,635 €2,698,530.
Further highlights included a monumental calligraphic Iznik tile, dating from circa 1565, which sold for £325,000 / $446,550 / €380,900, and a Safavid painting of Bahman enthroned at court, dating from 1540-50, which sold for £200,000 / €274,800 / €234,400 against an estimate of £10,000-15,000. A silver overlaid brass pen-case with the coat of arms of the Giustiniani family, made in Venice in the mid of the 16th century, sold for £150,000 / $206,100 / €175,800, tripling its pre-sale estimate.
The selection of oriental rugs & carpets in the auction was highlighted by an important Safavid silk Polonaise carpet, made in the 17th century in Central Persia, which achieved £2,062,500 / $2,833,875 / €2,417,250.
From a global antique Persian rug authority:
Comments from Jan David Winitz, founder/president of Claremont Rug Company: “The auction’s ‘star,’ was an important 17th century Safavid ‘Polonaise’ carpet that we identify as a Level 1 (Museum-Level) in our Oriental Rug Pyramid (©). It sold for $2.83 million (U.S.). I was gratified by the tremendous interest in rugs from ”The Second Golden Age of Persian Weaving (ca. 1800 to ca. 1910), as it reflects what we have seen in the market over the past year. It is also important to note that almost all the antique Oriental rugs that were offered were sold.
“The carpets that I categorize as Level 2 (High-Collectible) or Level 3 (Connoisseur-Caliber) sold without exception at or above the pre-sale estimates, while the great majority of the Level 4 (High-Decorative) carpets offered also sold.
“My overall observation, based on the results of this sale and the interest during the pandemic from our clients who reside on six continents, is that antique Oriental rugs are increasingly a significant segment for art and antique aficionados. I believe that collectors are in the process of understanding that, as we have been saying, that this generation will be the last to have access to the finest rugs from the 19th and turn of the 20th centuries.”
Louise Broadhurst, Head of the Oriental Carpet Department, commented: “Presented for the first time at auction since it was woven over four hundred years ago, this Safavid silk Polonaise carpet, made in the 17th century in Central Persia, was formerly part of the noble collection of the Italian Pio Falcò family, its identical pair remains within the prestigious Doria Pamphilj collection displayed in the Palazzo del Principe in Genoa. Retaining an astonishing amount of its silk pile and gold and silver-thread, it exemplifies the golden age of Safavid weaving under Shah ‘Abbas the Great. An additional auction highlight included a previously unpublished and unrecorded Safavid fragment from a once truly magnificent Kirman ‘Vase’ carpet woven in the first half of the 17th century, which sold for £562,500 / $772,875 / €659,250.”