Christie's says no plans to hold auctions in Iran

LONDON - Auction house Christie's on Tuesday denied reports that it was negotiating with Iran to hold sales in the Islamic republic.

Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted Culture Minister Ali Janati as saying negotiations with Christie's were under way to organise auctions at Iran's Gulf resort Kish Island.

Observers say the art scene in Iran is expanding fast on the back of the spending power of the country's nouveau riche, with emerging contemporary artists showing their work in Dubai.

Christie's said that while it held two sales a year in Dubai, it was not in contact with Iranian authorities about expanding its sales in the region.

Alexandra Kindermann, Senior Public Relations Director for Christie's, said: "Christie's are happy to hold bi-annual sales in Dubai where we happily offer Iranian art, but we have no plans to open salerooms in Iran.

"We have not been approached by Iran."

Iran held its first ever contemporary art auction in July last year, with 80 sales totalling almost US$2 million (1.4 million euros).