More than 20 early works on paper by Sarkis, Turkey’s preeminent artist, were among highlights offered to collectors at the Beirut Art Fair this week (until 24 September). Abstracts in earthy colours, they were made in Istanbul between 1963 and 1964, before he moved to Paris and won the 1967 Biennale de Paris painting prize.
In a significant coup for the fair, the works in mixed media on paper are shown by Paris’s Galerie Nathalie Obadia, a new participant this year. They are priced at $17,000-$33,000 and aimed at collectors in Lebanon’s significant Armenian community. The 78-year-old artist is of Armenian descent, and the works hint at similar themes in the stained glass work in his 2015 exhibition in the Turkish pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
The fair at the Beirut International Exhibition and Visitor Centre boasts 51 galleries in its eighth outing, up from 45 last year, hoping to build on $6m sales in 2016. Another overseas newcomer is Tunisia’s La Maison de la Place, a flagship of the burgeoning Tunisian scene in its first art fair. Drawings by Othmane Taleb, with evocative figures in shadowy graphite, of Syrian refugees on the move accompanied by angels, were a stand-out.
The fair is a strong regional showcase, with galleries from Greece, Jordan, the Gulf, and Algeria, and a strong Lebanese line-up. It is dominated by painting, and to a lesser extent drawing and photography, with little sculpture and almost no installation. Mark Hachem’s stand included Chaouki Chamoun’s Flocking in Love (2017), at $130,000, among top-priced works. Read more