Despite the ongoing global economic crisis, the auction house Sotheby’s has opened a branch in Istanbul. The auction house has stepped into the Turkish art world, announcing that they see an effective art market in the country.
When the auction house first opened in 1744, the owner Samuel Baker sold books for a few hundred pounds, now the world-renowned auction house has international clients following each event from its offices that operate in 41 countries.
Since its first days the company has expanded from book auctions to cover all areas of the fine and decorative arts. And since 2000, Sotheby's has been holding auctions on the Internet.
Crisis hits the art market
Europe Chairman of Sotheby’s Henry Wyndham said they launched the project of opening an international auction house in Turkey because their plans are all long-term. He also said the economic crisis has hit the art market.
Sotheby’s organized an auction on the day when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. "That day the sales were really good yet, the crisis impacted the art world and auctions. Prices for artwork have declined," Wyndham said.
According to Wyndham the last 18 months offered great chances to acquire good pieces, especially in contemporary art. "The crisis may create an opportunity for art lovers to buy art pieces at more reasonable prices," Wyndham said.
More Turkish clients
For many years, Sotheby’s has had Turkish clients and collectors attending auctions. Wyndham said the Turkish art collectors are vigorous. "They attend many international auctions in different fields of art. We want to offer good services to them. And of course our aim is to have more Turkish clients," Wyndham said.
Sotheby’s received a tax identification number on Dec. 26 that would allow the company to open an office in Istanbul. Yet before opening the branch in Istanbul with the offer of Ali Can Ertuğ, Sotheby’s senior vice chairman, the company opened a ’Turkish contemporary art department.’ The department is now managed by Dalyan İslam.
Ertuğ said displaying and selling work by Turkish artisans in international auctions would contribute to the success of the owner of the gallery, artisans, and even to the craftsmen and the public.
Sotheby’s have contributed to artists and art in each country they opened branches, Ertuğ said, adding that wherever the company invests the prices in the art market rise. Noting that he is not manipulating, he said opening Sotheby’s in Istanbul means more art pieces, more galleries, more artisans and more people earning money through art.
Sotheby’s Turkey branch manager Oya Delahaye said a nation could express itself via art. She said the main aim for opening an office in Istanbul was to expand the number of clients and draw the attention of international clients to Turkey.
1.2 million pounds-worth of Turkish art in London
Sotheby’s is organizing an exhibition displaying 73 contemporary Turkish art pieces in London. The exhibition, which will kick off Feb. 27 and continue until March 4, will display 1.2 million pounds-worth of art. The company will then hold an auction on March 4 in its London branch.
Among the 73 pieces there are works by Abidin Dino, Ferruh Başağa, Semiha Berksoy, Erol Akyavaş, Mübin Orhon, Fahrelnissa Zeid, Nejad Melih Devrim, Haluk Akakçe, Ahmet Ertuğ, Beri Baykam, Burhan Doğançay, Mehmet Güleryüz, Seyhun Topuz, Bülent Şangar, Canan Şenol, Erdağ Aksel, Erinç Seymen, Hale Tenger, Gülsün Karamustafa, Hüseyin Alptekin, İnci Eviner, Leyla Gediz, Nazif Topçuoğlu and Taner Ceylan. The selected works were on display in Ortaköy’s Esma Sultan Yalısı on Thursday.
"The company is aware of the dynamism in art market in Turkey. And with this exhibition Turkish artisans will be promoted internationally," Delahaye said.
The art pieces are received from 53 collectors and art galleries. Delahaye said the art works that will be auctioned in London do not have extravagant prices. The office of Sotheby’s is located in Maslak, the financial district of Istanbul. The office will provide services for its international and Turkish clients, which will include valuations, collection visits, insurance appraisals, purchasing advice and collection consultancy.