Auction houses post tidy profit in Turkey, world
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
İbrahim Çallı - Nudes bathing on a bluffGlobal auction houses and their Turkish counterparts witnessed much success this year, placing numerous exclusive pieces and collections under the gavel and selling famous works for record-setting prices.
Edvard Munch’s classic painting, “The Scream,” took the year’s highest selling price at $119.9 million. Turkey’s auction events were also very dynamic, with Artam Antik A.Ş.’s sale of famous late-Ottoman painter Osman Hamdi Bey’s “Girl places a vase” for 2.6 million Turkish Liras. The Dec. 16 Istanbul Swissotel event featured 275 paintings and artifacts. Osman Hamdi Bey’s 1883 canvas painting was the highlight of the auction, opening at 1.8 million liras. After taxes, it is estimated that the painting cost its unidentified buyer a total of 3.3 million liras.
Among the other popular pieces in the auction was Hasan Rıza’s “Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror arrives in Istanbul,” which was sold for 1 million liras. Orientalist painter Alberto Pasini’s “The bazaar in Istanbul” was auctioned for a starting price of 350,000 liras but eventually found a buyer for 600,000 liras. İbrahim Çallı’s “Still Life” was sold for 270,000 liras, Hikmet Onat’s “On the hills of Anadolu Hisarı” for 160,000 liras, Halil Paşa’s “Magnolias” for 100,000 liras and Süleyman Seyyid’s “Strawberries” for 98,000 liras.
Elsewhere in Turkey, Beyaz Auction House sold Adnan Çoker’s most important masterpiece, “Retrospective III,” for 650,000 liras. Erol Akyavaş’s master work “Vav” was also sold for 425,000 liras.
The highest price for an impressionist or modern art piece in a European auction this year was attained by Joan Miro’s “Peinture (Etoile Bleue),” which sold for $36.9 million in London this past June. It was also a new record for the artist at an auction. The highest-ever total for an auction of impressionist and modern art at Sotheby’s worldwide also came this year, with Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in New York conducting $330.6 million in sales earlier this May.
New auction record
A new auction record for the work of any living artist was reached by Gerhard Richter in London this October with his piece “Abstraktes Bild,” which sold for $34.2 million.
According to famed auction house Christie’s, the post-war and contemporary art categories rose by 34 percent to 576 million pounds this year, with jewelry jumping 28 percent to 190 million pounds and old masters and 19th-century art increased 50 percent to 72 million pounds.
The top lot at Christie’s during the first half of the year was Mark Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow,” which sold for $86.9 million in New York this past May. Two Yves Klein works came in second and third place, with “Le rose du bleu” fetching 23.6 million pounds in London this past June, setting an auction record for the artist.
A Henry Moore sculpture, “Reclining Figure: Festival,” also set an artist record when it sold at a London auction in February for 19.1 million pounds. Christie’s said bidders had registered from 124 countries during the first half of the year and that 19 percent of all registered bids were placed by new clients. Company officials have said the growing global client base had underpinned art prices at a time when concerns about the broader economy had hit other markets.
“The first six months of the year have demonstrated a healthy market that responds to great art and intelligent pricing,” said Steven Murphy, Christie’s chief executive officer.
Turkey also raised attention with auction results this year. Turkish painter Erol Akyavaş’s masterpiece from 1984, “Vav,” one of the paintings from the artist’s record-breaking series reflecting Islamic philosophical thought, was sold for 425,000 liras at the 19th Beyaz Auction on May 29. A Sotheby’s sale also included a stunning photorealist painting, “Cage of Flesh,” by Taner Ceylan, an artist whose works are in leading private and public collections around the world. Other highlights in the sale were early paintings by Burhan Doğançay, aphotograph by Ansen from his acclaimed “Guns of War Series;” aCanan Tolon’s “Glitch Series;” and a“Motorcycle” by Ramazan Bayrakoğlu.
Turkey’s rise in auction market
Turkey is beginning to rise in the world auction market, but it still remains far behind many of its global counterparts, according to the executive board chairman of Antik A.Ş.
“It would not be true to compare it to the word. The global auction market is close to 20 billion dollars a year. Turkey’s share remains at 80 million to 90 million dollars,” Turgay Artam recently told Anatolia news agency.
“In auctions abroad, companies’ biggest advantage is that they address an international market as well as their hundreds of years of auctioneering history. But in Turkey, there is an auction market that cannot enter the world market because of legal restraints,” he said.
Antik A.Ş. is aiming to break into the international arena with contemporary artists, Artam said. “Our goal is to increase interest in the culture and arts and to promote Turkish art and artists. In this way, they get the share they deserve.”
Artam said he started in the business by collecting stamps and old money in his childhood. Later, he founded the Antik A.Ş. Auction House. “At the beginning of the 1990s, an auction culture appeared in Istanbul thanks to magnificent auction organizations. People began to show interest in auctions, buying and selling works of art in a transparent way.”