Under the Royal Patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment and Wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, UAE a specialist lecture on Orientalist Art was held last week and by distinguished members of the local art community.
The lecture was presented in conjunction with Dubai Ladies Club, a member of Dubai Women Establishment, and Bonhams, one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art, as part of a dedicated sale of Orientalist Art which included 140 masterpieces from renowned European and American artists from the 19th and 20th Centuries. This exhibition and sale showcased some of the most important examples in private hands.
Muna Bin Kalli, Executive Director of Dubai Ladies Club commented, “As one of the foremost patrons of art in the UAE, and a keen supporter of raising regional awareness of the fine arts, Her Highness Sheikha Manal’s patronage and support reflects her personal belief that incorporating educational components at important art events contributes towards advancing the understanding of art and fulfilling the vision of transforming the UAE into a global hub for art practices.
The lecture on Orientalist Art, which was delivered by Bonham’s specialist Taline Aynilian, explored the artistic exchange between East and West that is the foundation for the Orientalist genre. She demonstrated how Orientalist art is a reflection of Western artists’ perceptions of Arab life in the 19th and 20th centuries and these artists conquered many logistical and physical challenges to ensure they could present realistic reflections of the Arabic and Bedouin influence. The lecture also included Edward Said's evaluation and critique of the set of beliefs known as Orientalism, which forms an important background for postcolonial studies. His work highlights the inaccuracies of a wide variety of assumptions as it questions various paradigms of thought which are accepted on individual, academic, and political levels. Other topics discussed ranged from portrayal of women to architectural details such as motifs, textile and ceramic tiles.
Muna Bin Kalli added, “We are pleased to collaborate with Bonham’s which offered members of the local art community with a rare glimpse into the history of Orientalism. Some of the pieces in the collection have rarely, if not ever, been exhibited publically before and will most likely never be seen again after the sale.”
Taline Nicole Aynilian, Senior Specialist added, “It is a real pleasure to bring works of art back to the region from which they came and from where the artists’ works were originally inspired. To have them displayed amidst the land and culture that embodies the Middle East places Orientalism into context.”
The exhibition and sale showcased museum calibre works from paintings to sculpture and glassware. Highlights from the exhibition included artists such as Edwin Lord Weeks, Edme Alexis Dehodencq, Frederick Arthur Bridgman, Jean François Portaels, Ludwig Deutsch, Aldolf Schreyer, Arthur von Ferraris, Rudolf Ernst and Edouard Wilhelm Richter.