The decision to move the Turkish Contemporary sale seems to have paid off with auction volume of £1m more than the inaugural sale in the category last year. 16 new artist records were achieved. Sotheby’s says 32% of the buyers were new to the auction house.
Two-thirds of the 102 lots were sold. Sotheby’s Press department narrates the bidding action:
Applause erupted in the saleroom as Fahrelnissa Zeid’s Untitled, 1954, (lot 66) sold for £657,250/ $1,019,263/ 1,504,314 TRY after seven minutes of frenzied bidding, establishing a new record for the artist at auction. Surpassing the pre-sale high estimate of £500,000 Untitled, 1954, which saw bidding from no less than four clients, was the highest selling lot of the auction. The doyenne of Turkish art and one of the first female artists to exhibit at the ICA in the 1950s; Zeid is not only one of the most important Turkish artists, but is arguably one of the most important female artists of the 20th Century. Her work Untitled was created at the beginning of an era in the artist’s oeuvre, when she began experimenting with abstraction; the colour asserts itself with brilliancy under an influence of Byzantine art, the tranquillity of Sufism and in this particular instance, Africa and its totems.
With bidding lasting for over six minutes Taner Ceylan’s 1881 (From the Lost Painting Series) (lot 7) surpassed the previous auction record by more than £50,000 and doubled its pre-sale high estimate of £45,000 to fetch £121,250/ $188,034/ 277,517 TRY. Ceylan is arguably the most impressive Hyperrealist artist in Turkey, and one of the foremost artists on the contemporary Istanbul circuit. His astoundingly realistic paintings are technical masterpieces of patience and precision. Ceylan strives to record the original with exactitude while infusing these realistic paintings with emotion.
The sale got off to a strong start when the second lot of the sale established a new artist record: Canan Tolon’s painting Glitch VI sold for £39,650/ $61,489/ 90,751 TRY, more than tripling the pre-sale low estimate of £12,000. Tolon lives and works in San Francisco and this work came to sale from a Britis hcollection.