In the wake of Sotheby’s successful Turkish Contemporary Art sale, the Telegraph tries to work its way back to explain how Turkey built its art market:
The Istanbul biennial, founded by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts in 1987, has acted as a catalyst for Istanbul’s art scene which has witnessed a stratospheric rise in commercial galleries since 2000. Over 200 dealers are now based in the capital compared to a handful at the turn of the millennium. Major gallerists include x-ist, Galeri Nev, Pi Artworks and Galerist.
Meanwhile, non-profit contemporary art spaces opened by private collectors in Istanbul (state funding is scarce) have set the agenda, transforming the city into an international art centre. In the last ten years, a slew of spaces powered by private capital have snowballed, giving the market momentum. Proje4L-Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum, founded by architect Can Elgiz and his wife Sevda in 2001, provided a platform for Turkish modern artists such as Erol Akyavas. Then, in 2004, came the landmark Istanbul Moderm, home to a burgeoning 1,000-strong contemporary Turkish art collection and brainchild of the Turkish pharmaceutical company, the Eczacibasi Holding group. In May, Omer Koç, a board member of Koç Holding, the largest conglomerate in Turkey, will open a new, much anticipated contemporary space in Istanbul.
[…] This market’s low prices stand out (estimates started at £2,000 at the Sotheby’s sale, an affordable tag even in today’s cooler post-crash climate). Even more startling is the Sotheby’s statistic that 66% of buyers at the Sotheby’s 2009 inaugural Turkish contemporary art sale were new to the saleroom. First-time, younger collectors could energise this sector like no other.