Highlights from Sotheby’s auction of Orientalist art

“The Weaver” depicts an Afghan girl in the interior of an Algiers home. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 04 June 2020

Highlights from Sotheby’s auction of Orientalist art

  • Here are some highlights from Sotheby’s second auction from the Najd collection of Orientalist art, online from June 8-11

‘Outside the Mosque’

Rudolf Ernst

The Austro-French painter traveled to Constantinople in the late 19th century and became passionate about Turkey’s Islamic heritage and the city’s traditional artisans. This painting — expected to sell for between $185,000 and $250,000 — is one of a series that Ernst made of mosques in the city, and depicts the tomb of Sultan Selim.

‘The Weaver’

Frederick Bridgman

After traveling to Cairo and Algeria in 1872, the American artist focused his work almost exclusively on scenes from the two North African countries. “The Weaver” depicts an Afghan girl in the interior of an Algiers home, dressed in blouse and salwar trousers and adorned with jewelry. Beside her is a tame gazelle. It is expected to fetch around $70,000.

‘The Sheikh’

John Adam Houston

The Scottish painter is best known for his historical depictions of the English Civil War, but he clearly felt an infinity with the East too, as several of his paintings, including “An Incident In The Desert” and this one are classic example of the Orientalist style. Expected to fetch around $70,000 at auction.


E-boutique startup launched amid virus outbreak brings touch of Morocco to UAE

Updated 35 min 56 sec ago

E-boutique startup launched amid virus outbreak brings touch of Morocco to UAE

DUBAI: Almost four months ago, as Dubai authorities announced sweeping precautionary measures to combat a rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the UAE, a 29-year-old entrepreneur did the unthinkable – and launched an e-boutique.

Rita Bennani’s business venture, Beldi Bazaar, is a platform that celebrates the universally admired artistic craftsmanship of her native Morocco.

“My friends and family told me not to launch, saying that this was not the time to do so. But then I thought that it didn’t matter because I needed to start and see how it went. It was the best decision I made because there was a huge movement to support small businesses during the pandemic,” she told Arab News.

The platform has provided interior design aficionados with understated and earthy colored home decor items. Supplied

Bennani, who has a background in event planning, moved to the UAE in 2017, and recalled how former colleagues often asked her to bring back keepsakes from Morocco, triggering the idea for her startup.

“I found that in the UAE, it’s not really common to find Moroccan products, except carpets. And for me, Morocco is so much more than just the carpets,” she said.

Bringing a touch of Morocco to Dubai, Beldi (meaning “traditional” in Moroccan Arabic) Bazaar has provided interior design aficionados with understated and earthy colored home decor items – including delicate coffee cups and bowls, luxury tagines and orange blossom candles, and hand-stitched textiles designed by the north African country’s traditional artisans.

Shoppers can find everything from hand-stitched blankets to luxury tagines. Supplied

“I have a strong relationship with a group of women who come from remote villages in the Atlas Mountains. Every single hand-woven blanket and cushion that we have in Beldi Bazaar was made by them. Through Beldi Bazaar, I really wanted to empower women,” she added.

Bennani, who was raised in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, prioritized promoting modern brands that “showcased Moroccan savoir faire.”

Portrait of Rita Bennani. Supplied

Through every hand-picked item available on the platform, Bennani aims to embody the pillars of Moroccan visual and social culture, from presenting diverse color palettes of blues and browns to expressing a sense of warm hospitality to all online visitors.

“What makes Moroccan products – such as ceramics, wood, or zelij – really special is the use of techniques that have been passed on from one generation to the next,” she said.