Sotheby’s second sale of Contemporary Art: Turkish achieved a total of £2,436,850/ $3,779,067/ 5,577,465 TRY, comfortably within its pre-sale estimate of £1.9-2.9 million. The sale established 16 new artist records for artists including Fahrelnissa Zeid, Taner Ceylan, Haluk Akakçe and Canan Tolon, and was 78.4% sold-by-value. Bidding was international, and buyers came from across the globe. Of the buyers in the auction, a significant 32% were new to Sotheby’s.
Specialists in charge of the Contemporary Art: Turkish Sale, Ali Can Ertu?, Sotheby’s Senior Vice President and Dalya Islam, Deputy Director, commented after the sale: “The strong performance of Contemporary Turkish art in today’s sale demonstrates its growing presence on the international auction scene. The demand for Turkish Contemporary Art, from both Turkish and international collectors, today proved extremely high and ratifies Sotheby’s decision to hold its auctions in this category in London, one of the company’s three most important international selling centres. We are thrilled by the success of this auction and the number of new artist records achieved – it marks another important step in the development of this exciting and fast-growing market. The record achieved for Fahrelnissa Zeid effectively becomes the first modern Turkish work to exceed the $1m mark in an international auction with international bidding.”
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 British collection.
Further sale highlights include:
• Incubation – Isolation – Transmission (lot 30, est. £35,000-45,000) by Haluk Akakçe, which sold for £43,250/ $67,072/ 98,991 TRY, setting a new record for the artist at auction. The painting reveals the artist’s extraordinary talent of creating abstract forms drawn from a variety of sources; from architecture to biology and metaphysics to geometry.
• Erol Akyava?’s Untitled, 1960 (lot 58) from a Private Collection in Florida, made £99,650/$154,537/ 228,079 TRY well in excess of its estimate of £30,000-50,000, and a further work by the artist, Untitled, circa 1970, (lot 81), commanded £97,250/ $150,815/ 228,079 TRY, above an estimate of £30,000-40,000.
• Abidin Eldero?lu, Sonbahar (Autumn), (lot 60), was sold for £91,250/ $141,510/208,853 TRY above its estimate of £55,000-75,000.
• The son of Fahrelnissa Zeid, Nejad Devrim’s Untitled, 1956, (lot 78a), surpassed its estimate of £40,000-60,000 to bring £87,650/ $135,928/ 200,613 TRY
• Leading Abstract Expressionist Mübin Orhon’s work Untitled, 1963, (lot 73) achieved £82,850/$128,484/ 189,627 TRY above an estimate of £50,000-70,000
16 artist records for a work of art sold at auction were set:
• Fahrelnissa Zeid, Untitled, 1954, lot 66, sold for £657,250/ $1,019,263/1,504,314 TRY, est. £300,000-500,000
• Taner Ceylan, 1881 (From the Lost Painting Series), lot 7, sold for £121,250/$188,034/ 277,517 TRY, est. £35,000-45,000
• Canan Tolon, Glitch VI, lot 2, sold for £39,650/ $61,489/ 90,751 TRY, est. £12,000-18,000
• Haluk Akakçe, Incubation – Isolation – Transmission, lot 30, sold for £43,250/$67,072/ 98,991 TRY, est. £35,000-45,000
• Erinç Seymen, Untitled, 2010, lot 6, sold for £26,250/ $40,708/ 60,081 TRY, est. £12,000-18,000
• Bedri Baykam, The Split of the Roads, lot 85, sold for £49,250/ $76,377/112,723 TRY, est. £40,000-80,000
• Ebru Uygun, Untitled, 2009, lot 52, sold for £15,000/ $23,262/ 34,332 TRY, est. £5,000-7,000
• Selahattin Yildirim, Faces, lot 51, sold for £5,000/ $7,754/ 11,444 TRY, est. £4,000-6,000
• Ekrem Yalçinda?, Schloss Balmoral: 9, lot 50, sold for £28,750/ $44,586/ 65,803 TRY, est. £15,000-20,000
• Kezban Arca Batibeki, Pulp Fiction 2, lot 44, sold for £30,000/ $38,770/ 57,220 TRY, est. £20,000-30,000
• Nazif Topçuo?lu, Triptych, lot 16, sold for £21,250/ $32,954/ 48,637 TRY, est. £12,000-18,000
• Arslan Sükan, Disappearance, lot 28, sold for £3,250/ $5,040/ 7,439 TRY, est. £2,000-3,000
• Gülay Semercioglu, The Pink Thing, lot 27, sold for £31,250/ $48,462/ 71,525 TRY, est. £8,000-12,000
• Seçkin Pirim, Mavi An (Blue Moment), lot 26, sold for £8,125/ $12,600/ 18,597 TRY, est. £5,000-7,000
• Ansen Atilla, The Little Man’s WARdrobe, lot 5, sold for £10,000/ $15,508/ 22,888 TRY, est. £8,000-12,000 / Ansen Atilla, Ground Control to Major Tom, lot 19, sold for £10,000/ $15,508/22,888 TRY, est. £7,000-9,000.
Image: lot 7 Taner Ceylan 1881 (From the Lost Painting Series, made £121,250