Erol Akyavaş work nets record amount at auction
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Erol AkyavaŞ - En-el HakTurkish painter Erol Akyavaş’s work “Ene’l Hak” set a new record for the highest price ever paid for a Turkish work of art when it fetched close to 3 million Turkish Liras at a weekend auction in Istanbul.
The painting’s opening price at Artam Antik Auction House’s Contemporary Artworks Auctions at the Swissotel was 1.2 million liras but eventually fetched more than double the price, selling for 2.78 million liras. The painting fetched the record price fromBurhan Doğançay’s “Blue Symphony” painting , which was sold in 2009 for 2.2 million liras.
Burhan Doğançay’s “Blue Symphony” held the previous record for a Turkish work of art, selling for 2.777 million liras when it was sold in 2009.
Regarded as an iconic work of Turkish painting, “Ene’l Hak” reflects the belief of Islamic intellectual and Sufi Mansur al-Hallaj, who was executed in the 10th century A.D. for saying “Ana-al Haqq” (I am the Truth), which was interpreted as a claim to be God.
The auction also presented unseen works from significant Turkish artists such as Orhan Peker, Abidin Dino and Avni Arbaş.
Orhan Peker 550,000 liras
Peker’s work “Ayçiçeği Tarlası” (Sunflower Field) started at 400,000 liras before ultimately selling for 550,000 liras.
A selection from the Paris school’s Turkish artists was also presented at the auction. Besides works from Mübin Orhon, Nejad Melih Devrim and Fahrel Nissa Zeid, paintings from Turkish contemporary artists Doğançay, Ali Çelebi, Asım İşler, Cevat Dereli, Oya Zaim Katoğlu, Turgut Zaim, Ferruh Başağa, Mehmet Güleryüz, Adnan Çoker, Abdurrahman Öztoprak, Ömer Uluç, Komet, Ahmet Oran, Şadan Bezeyiş, Mustafa Ata, Özdemir Altan, Alaettin Aksoy, Ergin İnan, Neş’e Erdok and Nuri İyem, as well as sculptures by Meriç Hızal, Seyhun Topuz and Kuzgun Acar, were also put up for auction.
A small sculpture was sold for
45,000 liras, while a big sculpture was sold for 125,000 liras. Works from international artists such as Julian Opie, Tom Wesselmann, Ferdinand Leger, Arman and Takashi Murakami also went under the hammer. The “5 Stars,” which were made by Doğançay, Ergin İnan, Fevzi Karakoç, Mercan Dede and Mustafa Ata as part of the “Stars of Istanbul” project, also found a buyer for 5,000 liras.
The person who bought Akyavaş’s work by phone did not give his or her name. The painting, which is seen as an iconic work in Turkish art, was first exhibited at the Army Museum 25 years ago during the Istanbul Biennial.
A total of 180,000 liras was also collected for UNICEF during the auction.
Story of the painting
The painting, titled “Ene’l Hak,” reflects Sufism mysticism and is considered an iconic painting of contemporary Turkish art, reflecting Mansur al-Hallaj’s belief. The painting was in the Akyavaş family collection and was displayed for the first time at the auction. The painting is oil on canvas, and 190 x 350 centimeters in dimension.
Mansur al-Hallaj was a Persian mystic, revolutionary writer and pious teacher of Sufism most famous for his poetry, accusation of heresy and for his execution at the orders of the Abbasid Caliph al-Muqtadir after a long, drawn-out investigation. Al-Hallaj’s method was one of “universalist mystical introspection: It was at the bottom of the heart that he looked for God and wanted to make others find Him. He believed one had to go beyond the forms of religious rites to reach divine reality.
Al-Hallaj believed in union with the Divine, that God was within him, and that he and God had become one and the same. Al-Hallaj was sentenced to die by Baghdad’s authorities because he exclaimed “Ana Abrar-al Haq” (I am the Abrar of truth) in a state of ecstasy.
Al-Hallaj continued to repeat “I am the Truth” as his executioners cut his arms, legs, tongue and, finally, his head.