Iranian Farhad Moshiri became the first Middle East artist to achieve an auction sale of over $1 million, selling a work titled 'Eshgh' (Love) at a Dubai auction, Bonhams announced on Tuesday.
The UK-based auction house said Moshiri’s work, a Swarovski crystals and glitter on canvas, fetched a staggering $1.05 million, well above the $150-$200,000 reserve.
Iranian artists swept the auction, receiving the three highest bids for their various works.
Second place went to Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, whose untitled piece went for $504,000, and Parviz Tanavoli took came in third place with the sale of his work ‘Poet and the Bird’ which fetched $480,000.
Bonhams said the auction, its first in the region, achieved total sales of over $13 million - almost three times the expected result, with 94% of the lots sold.
The auction also saw a new world record for an auctioned Pakistani work of art, Gulgee’s ‘Polo Player’, which sold for $336,000 - more than four times the reserve.
“This is an unbelievable result for our first auction in this market, and proves beyond doubt that the United Arab Emirates is an emerging commercial hub for modern contemporary art from the region,” Matthew Girling, Bonhams chief executive for Europe and the Middle East, said in a statement.
“We’re firmly committed to the region and Bonhams is now here to stay - we feel this is definitely the start of something big… we now look forward to further building our business in the Middle East.”