The Chicago Tribune runs this Bloomberg wire report on a female Saudi artist who has broken through in the art world. The article says that her success at an art auction has opened the door for other female artists in the country. Interesting.
UPDATE: A kind reader provides a link to the artist’s work.
Saudi artist breaks barriers for women
Massoud A. Derhally
Her father is chairman of National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia’s largest lender. She has a degree in business from Riyadh’s King Saud University. Now, Hanan Bahamdan is making her global mark — in art.
Her oil painting, “Mannci,” sold last month for more than three times its top estimate at Sotheby’s inaugural sale of modern and contemporary Arab and Iranian art, making Bahamdan the auction house’s first female Saudi artist. The somber-toned canvas of a working-class Egyptian man fetched about $75,000 at the London sale, compared with an estimate of $14,000 to $20,500.
The sale opens a path for Saudi Arabia’s female artists, who had been left out of a rush by collectors into Middle East works. Oil prices have tripled in four years, boosting the ranks of wealthy collectors in the region, while a decade-long boom in the global art market has enticed new investors.
“This is a first step, and many Saudi artists are exhilarated with the sale of my painting at Sotheby’s,” Bahamdan said in a telephone interview from Riyadh. “They say: ‘You’ve opened the door and opportunity for people to learn about us.’”
Christie’s International, the world’s biggest auction house, sold $15 million of contemporary works in Dubai on Oct. 31, led by a record $657,000, including commission, for Ahmed Mustapha’s “Qu’ranic Polyptych of Nine Panels.” Mustapha had held the previous record of $284,800, set at Christie’s first auction in the emirate in May 2006.
Bahamdan, 41, has been painting for 20 years and has held exhibitions in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. About 300 people attended her first exhibition in 1991 at her house in Riyadh, where she had 50 pictures on display. Later, she worked for two years in a studio in Egypt with Mohamed Sabry, one of the leaders of pastel painting in the country. She has also lived in Beirut and London.