Sotheby’s to celebrate Turkish week with Nejad Melih Devrim
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily NewsSotheby’s London has announced its sale of Contemporary Turkish Art, which will take place in April Sotheby’s Turkish and Islamic Week: Classical to Contemporary. The week will commence on the 24th of April 2012. Comprised of over 90 lots, the sale is estimated to fetch in excess of £1.5 million.
The auction will be led by Abstract Composition (estimated at £250,000-350,000), an exceptionally rare work by the École de Paris master, Nejad Melih Devrim, one of the most important Turkish artists of the 21st century.
Commenting on the sale, Elif Bayoğlu, Sotheby’s Deputy Director and head of Contemporary Turkish Art sales, said: “We are thrilled to be holding our fourth sale in this collecting category. Over the past three years we have witnessed tremendous growth in the number of international clients active in this field. We look forward to growing this market even further with this year’s auction, which is set to provide some extremely exciting collecting opportunities for collectors.”
Commenting on the Nejad Melih Devrim work, she added: “Abstract Composition is among the most important of Nejad Melih Devrim’s paintings to appear on the market in recent years. With its distinguished provenance, rare monumental size and its beautiful composition, it is a work of museum quality and a collector’s item at its best.”
It is now offered at auction for the first time since it was painted in 1952. After remaining in the artist’s personal collection for 35 years, it was acquired by a prominent collector in 1987 and has remained in the same collection ever since. The present painting is among the largest works the artist ever made.
It belongs to his most revered 1950s period, and is true testament to Devrim’s mastery in creating the most arresting compositions with geometric abstraction. Although clearly passionate about Paris, Devrim never forgot his cultural roots and infatuation with the Byzantine mosaics he studied at the Chora Museum in Istanbul. After he moved to Europe, he studied the stained glass windows in Chartres Cathedral, France and the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna, Italy throughout his extensive travels. The light emanating from these mosaics and the stained glasses and the fascination they evoked on the viewer were what drew him in and Devrim perhaps thought the best way to recreate this light in painting was through the use of vibrant colors.
The varied tones of his paintings recall a surface of fractured light, luminous with color. His knowledge of Islamic calligraphy and Iznik tiles are rendered within his paintings through expressive curvilinear forms and compositions. Devrim was among the first Turkish painters to have a solo show of abstract art in Paris, in March 1947, and was subsequently included in prestigious École de Paris exhibitions curated by Charles Estienne. Nejad Melih Devrim became friends with Marcel Duchamp, Gertrude Stein and Alice B.
Devrim travelled all around the world, from Central Asia to Britain, Italy to the Middle East, the U.S. to the Soviet Union. His paintings can be found in the collections of a number of European museums, including the Musée d’art Moderne de Paris. Devrim moved to Poland in 1967-68 and died there in 1995. Since his death, his works have been included in numerous exhibitions, including a retrospective held at Istanbul Modern Museum, where his work was exhibited alongside that of his mother, another leading École de Paris artist, Fahrelnissa Zeid.