Farhad Moshiri Crystal-Covered Bear Painting Sells For Almost $1 Million At Christie’s Middle Eastern Auction

Image via Christie's

Some self-portrait. Iranian contemporary artist Farhad Moshiri—who became the first Middle Eastern artist to sell a piece of artwork for more than $1 million in 2008—created this crystal-studded painting depicting himself as sleeping child being carried by a bear into a fantasy forest of sparkling flowers. Was the guy tripping or remembering some crazy-ass dreams he had as a kid? We may never know, but the painting, “Secret Garden,” just sold for a cool $987,750 on the Christie’s International auction block in Dubai. A private collector was the top bidder for the artwork that was valued at as much as $500,000 going into Christie’s sale of modern and contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish art April 16 and 17.

A total of 28 lots in the part one sale included works by Saliba Douaihy, Sohrab Sepehri, Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, Chafic Abboud, Louay Kayyali, Fateh Moudarres, Paul Guiragossian, Parviz Tanavoli, Adel El Siwi, Lalla Essaydi, Nadim Karam and Murat Pulat.

“This will be our 15th sale season in Dubai, confirming our commitment to hold regular sales in the region of art from the region which began with our first sale seven years ago,” said Michael Jeha, managing director of Christie’s in the Middle East. “We are the only international auction house to hold sales exclusively in this category in the Middle East and are proud of our part in encouraging international collectors to recognize the quality of the modern and more established contemporary masters while at the same time supporting the emerging artists by exposing their work to an international marketplace. By aligning these two strategies with our regular part I and part II format, we continue to be encouraged by the solidity in this market and the sustainable way it has matured.”

Moshiri’s “Secret Garden” held the highest sales value going into the auction, thanks to its use of metallic and glitter paints, beads and nails. The giant bear in the painting is entirely made of light-reflecting crystals. According to Christie’s, Moshiri’s mixed-media technique “provides a sharp contrast between the almost fairy-tale childhood memory of the dreaming boy and the slightly sinister undertone of the jarring colors and textures.