Paintings by coup leader cannot find buyers even at bargain price
A painting made by Kenan Evren, who was once the leader of Turkey’s military coup of 1980 and president of the country for seven years, was put up for sale at an auction in the capital Ankara for 2,500 Turkish Liras ($340) two weeks ago but still could not find a buyer.
After handing over the executive power to a civilian government in 1983 and holding the presidency for six more years, Evren retired to a life of painting by the seaside at the Aegean district of Marmaris.
His paintings, which many art critics say were made with a narrow and far from a depth perspective, were bought by the leading names of business world with astronomical numbers in the 1990s.
In 1992, Evren’s first painting called “A man in a narrow street in Marmaris” was put up for auction and was sold for $7,273. A few years later, his painting on Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey, broke records in 1998. It was sold at $402,338, a price that no famous artist could ever claim at that time in the country.
However, the views of people about Evren and his works changed over time.
A constitutional clause granting a general immunity to him from prosecution was overturned after a referen-dum in 2010, and a Turkish court convicted Evren of crimes against the state for setting the stage for army intervention and conducting a coup in 2014.
In 2015, the Culture Ministry dropped Evren’s paintings belonging to different periods from their artworks collection.
Today, the paintings of once the mighty general cannot find buyers even for a very small amount of money.