Sotheby’s announced the promotion of Elif Bayoglu to head of the Turkish Contemporary sales pioneered by Ali Can Ertug who died from fall in May of this year during Contemporary Istanbul 2010. Colin Gleadell points out that the success Sotheby’s has had–and that Bonhams recently showed an interest in emulating–is a shadow of Turkey’s own auction house Antik AS:
Founded in 1981, Antik AS holds about six auctions a year and had a turnover last year of $45 million, of which $25 million was for modern and contemporary Turkish art. This month it launched its new season with a $10 million sale in this niche market.
In the past few seasons, Antik AS has been setting the pace at the high end, fetching record prices for the top group of Turkish moderns, mostly artists born in the early 20th century who studied in Paris in the post-war era and are no longer alive. These would include Mubin Orhon, Fahrelnissa Zeid, Turkey’s leading female artist (who reached $910,000 – though Sotheby’s improved on that price in April), and Erol Akyavas (whose massive The Siege holds the record for modern Turkish painting at $1.75 million). Last September it sold Symphony in Blue, a swirling abstract painting by Buhran Doganacy (born 1929), for $1.85 million to Marat Ulker, making Doganacy the most expensive living Turkish artist. In 1995, the painting had sold for $50,000, which gives some idea of the price increases that have been taking place. This month, Antik AS sold another work by Doganacy, Blossom, for $277,500.
Olgac Artram, the CEO of the family-owned auction house, says that the rises are due to demand outstripping supply for great works by these artists. This demand comes primarily from Turkish collectors, private museums and investment funds. In a new development, Yapik Kredi Bank and Akbank are bringing in new buyers by providing loans for art purchases.
Art Sales: Turkey Is Looking Hot This Winter (Telegraph)