Legendary Turkish artist passes away

Legendary Turkish artist passes away

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Legendary Turkish artist passes away

Burhan Doğançay, Turkish artist, has died in Istanbul aged 84. Doğançay is famous by his usage of urban walls in his contemporary paintings.

Burhan Doğançay, a famous Turkish artist and the creator of the most expensive painting in the country’s contemporary art history, died in Istanbul at a hospital. He was 84.

A funeral service will be held for the artist at Teşvikiye Mosque tomorrow, and he will be buried in Bodrum’s Turgutreis neighborhood as specified in his will.

Dogançay was born in 1929, the first of three children born to Adil Dogançay, a well-known painter and topography officer in the Turkish army, and his wife, Hediye.

The young Dogançay was given artistic training by his father and Arif Kaptan but also played football for Ankara’s Gençlerbirliği club. Doğançay obtained a law degree from Ankara University in 1950 before moving to Paris. While receiving an economics degree at the University of Paris, he also attended art classes at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière between 1950 and 1955.

Doğançay returned from France, staging a number of exhibitions, including ones with his father. Following a brief sojourn with the diplomatic service that brought him to New York in 1962, Doğançay chose in 1964 to devote himself to art, deciding to make the U.S. city his base. Dogançay lived and worked in Istanbul, New York and Turgutreis.

Walls of Doğançay

Doğançay was fascinated by urban walls and chose them as his subject. He saw them as the barometer of society and a testament to the passage of time, reflecting social, political and economic changes, as they frequently withstood the assault of the elements and the markings left by people.

A decade after choosing art, Doğançay began a new mission, photographing urban walls all over the world, providing himself with a wealth of material that he would later draw upon in creating his own paintings, often in a “collage” form.

In the 1970s and 1980s, he gained fame with his interpretation of urban walls in his signature ribbons series, which consisted of clean paper strips and their calligraphy-shaped shadows. This series later gave rise to aluminum composite material shadow sculptures and Aubusson Tapestries.

‘Blue Symphony’

In November 2009, one of Doğançay’s paintings, “Mavi Senfoni” (Blue Symphony), was sold to Murat Ülker for $1.7 million at an auction in Istanbul. The collage relates to an impressive cycle of works within the Doğançay oeuvre, called the “Cones” series, which evolved from his iconic “Breakthrough” and “Ribbon” series and as an exhilarant exploration of the urban space. The previous owner of the painting had bought it in 1995 for $50,000 at an exhibition. Together with its two sister works, “Magnificent Era” from the collection of Istanbul Modern” and “Mimar Sinan,” from a private collection, “Mavi Senfoni” is one of the largest and most expressive works in which Doğançay entered into a dialogue with the history of Turkey. It was produced in 1987 for the first International Istanbul Biennial.

Exclusively dedicated to the work of Dogançay, as well as to some of the pieces of art of his father, the Doğançay Museum has long provided a retrospective survey of the artist’s various creative phases from his student days up until his demise. The museum, which is located in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district, contains about 100 works.

Doğançay’s works are found in the collections of many museums around the world, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, as well as the National Gallery of Art in Washington; MUMOK in Vienna; the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris; Istanbul Modern in Istanbul; the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, as well as the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.

President Abdullah Gül

Legendary Turkish artist passes away

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Turkish President Abdullah Gül said that with the death of painter Doğançay, Turkey lost one of its most valuable cultural assets. “Doğançay, who served the art of painting for many years and won many national and international awards including the Presidential Culture and Arts Grand Award, has a respected place in the Turkish art world and has become a model for young generations of artists. His work is being displayed in selected museums and spaces around the world. We will always remember him for his contributions to our art world,” Gül said in a written statement from the Presidential Press Office.

Culture and Tourism Minister, Ertuğrul Günay

Legendary Turkish artist passes away

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Ertuğrul Günay said Doğançay was a respected art representative who made Turkey’s name heard across the world. “I am really sorry about the death of a great name in the art of painting, a master painter and my dear friend. Doğançay, who was deemed worthy of many international awards for his rare work, was a very significant representative of Turkish art. I am really affected by his death and may god rest his soul,” Günay said.

Istanbul Modern Museum chairwoman, Oya Eczacıbaşı

Legendary Turkish artist passes away

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Burhan Doğançay was one of the most important artists in Turkey, Istanbul Modern Museum Chairwoman Oya Eczacıbaşı said, adding that the Nejat Eczacıbaşı Foundation organized his first retrospective in 2001. “We are feeling the deep pain of his loss,” he said. In 2012 Istanbul Modern organized another retrospective that reflected the artist’s career in art. Doğançay was an exemplary figure in the art world thanks to his energy, sincerity and excitement, Eczacıbaşı said. Doğançay was a visionary character, Eczacıbaşı said.