Monday 30 October 2023

Lot 542

Abdul Qader Al-Rais (Emirati, b. 1951), Untitled, watercolour on paper, signed in Arabic and...

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Lot 542

Abdul Qader Al-Rais (Emirati, b. 1951), Untitled, watercolour on paper, signed in Arabic and...

Price Realised: £22,304

Estimate: £10,000 - £15,000

Price realised is hammer price plus fees (31.2% Buyers Premium inclusive of VAT).

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Lot 542


Abdul Qader Al-Rais (Emirati, b. 1951), Untitled, watercolour on paper, signed in Arabic and dated 2008, stamped with the artist's fingerprint (lower right), glazed and framed, 151 x 101cm. 

Painted in 2008.

Provenance: Private UK Collection; Leila Heller Gallery

Abdul Qader Al Rais (b.1951, United Arab Emirates) received a Bachelor of Sharia Law from the United Arab Emirates University in 1982 and is a self-taught artist. He was born twenty years before Dubai (and the United Arab Emirates) was formed and is considered one of the most iconic painters of the country.

A founding member of the Emirates Fine Arts Society, Al Rais’ practice was truly self-driven and resourced. He began painting in 1964, at a time of limited cultural infrastructure, where sourcing paint posed difficulties. Being cut off from traditional international art markets and western artistic dialogues, his practice was deeply informed by Gulf traditions; of representations of the divine, culture and community – all grounded in humility. He spent time during his youth in Kuwait in the 60’s and 70’s, while the country experienced an artistic and literary renaissance, where he encountered key figures in the Gulf modern art movement, including Sami Mohammed, and Khalifa and Lidia Qattan. Al Rais’ early works were representational and rooted in realism. He mostly depicted traditional Emirati landscapes and architecture. After a hiatus between 1974 and the 1980s, his work began to take on political themes (particularly responsive to the first Palestinian Intifada, seen as the artist’s second period). In the 90s, Al Rais increasingly turned to abstraction and calligraphy (his third period) recognizing their shared meditative and spiritual qualities.

Al Rais has held several solo exhibitions both locally and internationally. Notably, he was featured in the UAE Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, Venice (2015). Al Rais’ work has also been displayed at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva and his public murals can be found in the Dubai Airport and the Dubai Metro. Retrospectives of Rais' extensive artistic career have been held at the Sharjah Art Museum and the Institut du Monde Arabe.

Among his numerous awards are the Sheikh Khalifa Prize for Art and Literature, Abu Dhabi (2006); Golden Palm Award, Gulf Cooperation Council Art Exhibition, Doha (1999); first prize at The UAE in the Eyes of Its Artists, Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi (1999); Sultan Al Owais Award for Scientific Studies and Creativity, Dubai (1992, 1994, 1996) and first prize at the UAE Exhibition in China (1991).

Al Rais’ work is held in the collections of the British Museum, London; Louvre, Paris; Northwest Museum of Culture and Arts, Spokane, Washington; Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, Shanghai and the Museum of Modern Art, New Delhi.


Al Rais lives and works in Abu Dhabi.

Buyer's Premium

The buyer shall pay the hammer price together with a premium thereon of 26% up to £20,000 (31.2% inclusive of VAT), 25% from £20,001 - £500,000 (30% inclusive of VAT), 20% from £500,001 thereafter (24% inclusive of VAT). The premium price is subject to VAT at the standard rate.

VAT is not charged on the hammer price unless it is stated that there is 'VAT applicable on the hammer price at the end of the description. Buyer's premium is subject to VAT.

Qualifying living artists and the descendants of artists deceased within the last 70 years are entitled to receive a re-sale royalty each time their work is bought through an auction house or art market professional.

It applies to lots with hammer value over £1,000 as follows:
0 to £50,000 - 4%
£50,000.01 to £200,000 - 3%
£200,000.01 to £350,000 - 1%
£350,000.01 to £500,000 - 0.5%
Exceeding £500,000 - 0.25%
ARR is capped at £12,500

Please note ARR is calculated in euros. Auctioneers will apply current exchange rates.

Export of goods

Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain whether an export licence is required before bidding. Export licences are issued by Arts Council England and application forms can be obtained from its Export Licensing Unit. Details can be found on the ACE website or by phoning ACE on 020 7973 5188. The need for import licences varies from country to country and you should acquaint yourself with all relevant local requirements and provisions before bidding. The refusal of any such licences shall not permit the cancelling of any sale nor allow any delay in making full payment for the lot.

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