Sohrab Sepehri Tree Trunk paintings lead Tehran Auction 

May 28, 2016

TEHRAN -- Two paintings from Sohrab Sepehri’s Tree Trunk series were the most expensive works sold at the 5th Tehran Auction on Friday. 

One of the paintings fetched 30 billion rials (over $860,000) and another took in 15.5 billion rials (over $447,000) at the art sale, which was held at the Parsian Azadi Hotel.

Two paintings from the series were also the most expensive works sold at the previous edition of the auction in 2015.

A painting of a vase by New York-based Iranian expressionist Manuchehr Yektai sold for 14.7 billion rials while master miniaturist Mahmud Farshchian’s “Elevation” fetched 12.5 billion rials.

Eighty works from classical and modern Iranian artists were placed on sale at the auction, but only “Rara Avis” by painter Bijan Rafati with an estimate of 400 to 600 million rials failed to find a buyer. Forty-six works were sold above the estimates. 

The auction smashed last year’s record by grossing over 253 billion rials (over $7.3 million). The art sale last year grossed 214 billion rials (over $6.1 million).

The auction began with a short speech by auctioneer Hossein Pakdel, during which he congratulated Iranian director Asghar Farhadi over the triumph of his latest film “The Salesman” at the 69th Cannes Film Festival. 

The first work that went under the hammer at the auction was an untitled painting by the U.S.-based Iranian artist Nasser Ovissi, which was sold for 950 million rials. Actress Elnaz Shakerdust was the buyer of the artwork.  

Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati and some his aides also joined art dealers and collectors in attending the auction.

“I’m here to show the government’s support for the auction that is being organized every year by the private sector,” Jannati told the reporters at the auction.

Photo: Tehran Auction employees hold a painting from Sohrab Sepehri’s Tree Trunk series during the 5th edition of the auction at the Parsian Azadi Hotel on May 27, 2016. The artwork was the first top seller, fetching over $860,000. (Honaronline/Aidin Qeshlaqi)

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