Artist takes paintings back after 26 years
One of the pioneers of modern Turkish painting, Professor Özdemir Altan, 91, was given back 33 of his paintings, which were seized at the customs during their entry into Turkey after being exhibited in German 26 years ago.
Altan sent 33 of his most outstanding oil paintings to an exhibition at the Fon Saturn Gallery in Hamburg, Germany, in 1996, for free of charge. The paintings were sent to Turkey after being exhibited in various museums in Germany for two years. However, the paintings were seized by the Turkish customs because the time allowed at customs was exceeded.
Altan applied to the Culture Ministry and various authorities to get his paintings back. The Undersecretariat of Customs allowed the paintings to be taken back, but when Altan went to the customs office to get his paintings, he was asked to pay 3,000 Turkish Liras as the warehouse fee and he did not take them back.
The paintings then were transferred to the Culture Ministry, and from there, to the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Painting and Sculpture Museum in 1999.
Altan’s lawyer, Ziya Erdem Kapluhan, filed a lawsuit with the Istanbul Civil Court of First Instance and requested the paintings be returned to the artist. But the Culture Ministry and the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Rectorate demanded the dismissal of the lawsuit, stating that the lawsuit was baseless. But the court ruled the return of the 33 paintings to their owner, Altan.