Al Said's Cubist Cockerel headlines Iraqi art auction

Shakir Hassan Al Said's Cubist Cockerel led a sale of Iraqi art at Bonhams London on April 20, achieving £194,500 ($289,161).

Al Said was a founding member of the Baghdad Group of Modern Art, which formed in 1951.

Cockerel Bonhams Hassan
Cubist Cockerel was inspired by traditional Middle Eastern and contemporary European art

The movement combined the ancient artistic traditions of the region with cubism and abstract expressionism.    

He explained: "We wanted to clarify to Iraqi artists in general, and to ourselves as an art group in particular, that istilham alturath (seeking inspiration from tradition) is the basic point of departure to achieve a cultural vision through modern styles."

This is demonstrated in the present work depicting a cockerel, a recurrent theme in Middle Eastern art. It formerly belonged to Jewad Selim, Al Said's teacher and another key member of the Baghdad Group.

Other lots in the sale included an untitled work by Ismael Fattah that sold for £146,500 ($217,683).

Fattah also studied under Jewad Selim at Baghdad's Institute of Fine Arts during the 1950s and went on to co-found the New Vision group, which drew inspiration from contemporary political and social issues.  

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