By Aya Elhlew
April 2016, Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, a man who’s fond of collecting modern Arab art, purchased “o”, a statue made by the Egyptian Sculpturer, Mahmoud Mokhtar, at Sotheby’s auction. Al-Qassemi got the statue paying EUA 3.6 million, almost 10 times the statue’s actual estimate price.
At the time of purchase, the catalog for the sale listed the statue’s casting date as circa the 1920s, when Mokhtar was still alive. But Mr. Al-Qassemi and Charles Pocock of Dubai’s Meem Gallery have issued a foundry report by Sotheby’s after. That foundry report says that the sculpture was most likely cast in 1938 or 1939, after the death of Mokhtar. So Mr. Al-Qassemi filed a lawsuit against Sotheby’s for misleading him about the casting date of the statue.
Mr. Pocock told The National that they never disputed that the work is by Mokhtar, only that the work was miscatalogued. He also added “To quote their own warranty, if the work is miscatalogued and the value has been affected, Sotheby’s will return the value in full. This is what we requested, and they threw it back in our faces.”
According to the National, Sotheby’s insists on saying that the original date listed in the catalog was just vague.