Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Hala Khayat of Christie's in Dubai. Charles Crowell for The National
Hala Khayat of Christie's in Dubai. Charles Crowell for The National

Always on a lookout for those little gems

The Life: No day is ever the same for Christie's head of sale in Dubai, Hala Khayat, but it's the enjoyment of working with beautiful art that drives her.

Hala Khayat became the head of sale at Christie's in Dubai last November after starting at the auction house as a freelancer in 2006. She presided over the first auction in her new role this month. Here the Syrian explains why no two working days are ever alike.

6am

My days start early because I have a family. My twin boys, age 10, are off to school by 6.45am. Sometimes I go back to sleep. I go for a small walk, get a coffee then head to the office. I am not a big sports person but I am trying.

9am

We are based in the DIFC and because we are also a public space we have a lot of people walking in without prior appointments. So sometimes when I walk in, there is someone waiting for me, bringing in some valuable item for us to see. So there may be a valuation to be done or we try to put them in touch with the correct specialists in London, Paris, New York or China.

11am

I check requests, emails and have an espresso. Every day is a new challenge but we are working with amazing and beautiful items. In Dubai, we have two seasons of sales and every season we have two auctions. We are always looking for works from private collectors and dealers so we travel in the region; we cover Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iran - even Europe and the States. We are always on the lookout for little gems - art from modern and contemporary times. The minute we find something we try to research that piece finalise the contracts. Then we follow up until the painting reaches Dubai. When the works are in Dubai, we check the condition, measure them, write captions and the catalogue, suggesting framing if needed. Then there is promotion and selling. Our main selling tool is our catalogue. We research every work and there are essays in the catalogue and the biographies. We do the press for the sale and give interviews to promote the pieces. We have a series of lunches and dinner and talks. Every six months the whole process starts again

1-2pm

I try for lunch with clients at least three times a week. Two times a week I have lunch at my desk - I order in with colleagues.

7pm

During sales week we are standing for 18 hours a day but it pays off because we take people on tour, students education is really key. On sale day, the auction starts at 7pm. It lasts about an hour. What is tricky about an auction is that we have a month to promote it but at the end of the day we have a few minutes to sell every painting. It's not like in a gallery where they have one artist for 30, 40 days. The drive behind all of this is real love for the art and real appreciation for the artists behind the art. Lots of the social activities I do are work related. I don't really [otherwise] go out a lot a night. I like to stay home and chill.

lgutcher@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Marina Square apartments Reem Island: Q1 2% rise. Studio - Dh65-68,000. 1BR - Dh75-95,000. 2BR - Dh110-145,000. 3BR - Dh170-190,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 no change. Sammy Dallal / The National

In pictures: Where Abu Dhabi rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Abu Dhabi have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 A Brabus Mercedes 6x6 Sports Utility Vehicle is readied for display during Auto China 2014 in Beijing, on April 20. Adrian Bradshaw / EPA

In pictures: Auto China 2014 exhibition

Leading automakers have gathered in Beijing for the kickoff of China’s biggest car show, but lacklustre growth and environmental restrictions in the world’s largest car market have thrown uncertainty into the mix. More than 1,100 vehicles are being showcased.

 The New York Stock Exchange. Rising interest rates will shift momentum away from bonds and back towards risk assets such as stocks. Richard Drew / AP Photo

Plan ahead for rising interest rates

It is now over five years since the majory central banks slashed interest rates to record low but that is all about to change. So, how will rising interest rates affect you?

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National