Middle East market update

Wealth: Middle East oil has ensured that the region has a high number of high-net worth individuals looking to diversify their investments and display their wealth. Yet this isn't the whole story. Dubai has little in the way of natural oil reserves, yet has established itself as a major hub for businesses around the world, further bringing wealth into the region. Despite the world's economic woes, Dubai's economy grew by 2.2% in 2010. 80% of the region's inhabitants are non-nationals, including large numbers of wealthy Russians.

Art: The Qatari royal family recently purchased Cezanne's The Card Players for an art world record $250m. They are not alone in pushing the Middle East art world forward. Christie's was the first international auction house to set up a permanent base in the Middle East, in 2005. Its Dubai headquarters was its fastest-growing auction house in 2010, with a 153% improvement in sales.


Dubai market update
It's a heady mix of business and pleasure in Dubai


Paintings and sculpture have traditionally been uncommon in Arab cultures, but contemporary artists are now emerging. Christie's sold a sculpture by Parviz Tanavoli for $2.8m in 2008 - a world record for a Middle Eastern artist, while a work by Iraqi sculptor Jewad Salim, Mother and Child, sold for $384,000 in 2010 - setting a world record for an Iraqi artwork. More than 50 art galleries have sprung up in Dubai since 2006, and Art Dubai, a major four-day annual art fair in the region, attracted a record attendance in March 2011.

Photography: Bonhams established a presence in Dubai in 2007. The auctioneer's first dedicated photography sale in the region took place in 2011.

Stamps: Middle East stamps are a burgeoning area for collectors all over the world. A collection of Middle East stamps formed part of the prestigious Santa Fe collection in New York in January 2012.

Jewellery: Christie's holds bi-annual watch and jewellery auctions in Dubai, while Sotheby's hosts jewellery sales from its Qatar base - both evidence of demand in the region.

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