Last Friday, Iran held its first contemporary art auction in Tehran, which earned a total of 21.5bn rials, or $1.7 million.
According to the Financial Times (with English spellings kept intact):
Not that the collectors and gallery owners gathered in the high-ceilinged dining hall of the Hotel Azadi were bullish beforehand. Some worried that the country’s economic hardships and the international furore over its nuclear programme might deter potential bidders. Yet in the event all 73 lots were sold, hitting the top end of the pre-sale estimate of $1.2m-$1.7m; the polite exchanges of “mobarak bashe” – congratulations – over tea, coffee and sweets afterwards were sincerely felt.
Alireza Samiazar, the former head of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art who is now a senior editor at the Persian quarterly Art Tomorrow, organized the auction. He said he hopes to host the event annually.