Nejad Melih Devrim Painting for Sotheby’s Auction

Sotheby’s London has announced as part of its Contemporary Turkish Art sale: Untitled, 1956, a major work by Nejad Melih Devrim, will be offered alongside works by leading Turkish artists. From a private Danish collection, the painting has remained in private hands since it was first exhibited in Copenhagen in 1956 and it comes to the market with an estimate of £40,000-60,000. Auction Thursday, 15th April.

Speaking of the work, Dalya Islam, Deputy Director and Specialist in Contemporary Turkish Art at Sotheby’s, said: “This beautiful painting which has recently re-surfaced on the art scene after 54 years in a private collection, is an outstanding example of Nejad Devrim’s work from the 1950s. The large size and extremely rare composition marries the legacies of the artist’s past and present and is an exceptional example from his oeuvre. The diagonal lines and curvilinear arches break up the space into contrasting colours while the tones of sombre greys and soothing whites clash with the emotionally dense, fiery reds, and create an abstract depiction of a far away land.”

The first Turkish painter to stage a solo exhibition of abstract art in Paris, in March of 1947, Devrim is acclaimed as one of the most remarkable artists of the École de Paris. Born to a highly educated family of artists and poets, he was raised by the pioneering female artist Fahrelnissa Zeid, and became an intellectual of the highest order. Devrim claimed Marcel Duchamp, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas as close friends, and although clearly passionate about Paris, he never forgot his cultural roots, and his infatuation with the Byzantine mosaics that he studied in Istanbul never faded. Devrim’s profound ability to synthesise the bold use of vibrant colours by the modern masters like the Fauvists, and his study of light and lyrical harmony of the Byzantine mosaics, awarded him a special place among the artists of the Parisian art scene where he lived for twenty-two years, from 1946.

Image: Nejad Melih Devrim, Untitled, 1956. Estimate of £40,000-60,000. Photo: Sotheby’s.