On one of the smartest streets of BeyoÄŸlu, there is a 150 year-old Art Deco building which is now home to an important contemporary art museum. Its four storeys are entirely dedicated to work by Burhan Dogançay, the visionary artist who also wears the crown as the most expensive living artist in Turkey.
Burhan Dogançay is the son of a Turkish army officer, Adil Dogançay, who was also a famous painter whose oeuvres consisted mainly of impressionistic land and seascapes. To perform his military duties, Adil traveled around Turkey and thus had many opportunities to paint en plein air. Adil’s work is shown on the top floor of the Dogançay Museum, and it is very different to that of his son. Burhan has chosen to portray the chaos of the city rather than the serenity of pristine nature.
The story of Burhan Dogançay’s artistic ambitions began somewhat late, as he initially chose to study law in Ankara and then took a Ph.D. in economics in Paris. And what better place to start painting? He began attending classes at Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and very soon, art became the sole purpose of his life.
In early 1960s, Dogançay moved to New York when some of his works were acquired by the Guggenheim Museum for their permanent collection. Fascinated by the lively New York scene, he began a series that would later influence the rest of his oeuvre, becoming his seminal theme: Urban Walls. Since then, he has traveled the world in search of more cityscapes, looking for the details that find their way into his paintings. DoÄŸançay describes his wall paintings, adorned with slogans and newspaper clippings, as a chronicle of our times, a reflection of social, political and economic change.
The other famous series by Dogançay, Ribbons, could be considered as a development of the peeling advertisement posters featured on his Walls. The Ribbons may have been inspired by the heavily defaced walls of the many cities he visited, but their calligraphic shadows tell a different story: an Eastern aesthetic sensitivity in combination with a contemporary mind. It was one of the paintings from this series that brought Dogançay to the headlines last year, when his ‘Blue Symphony’ sold for 2.2 milion lira (1 million euro) at an auction, making him the most expensive Turkish living artist. His Ribbons were made into tapestries in the French city of Aubusson, and Villeroy & Boch created a special edition of plates with decoration based on his Ribbons.
Since the 1960’s, Dogançay’s work has been exhibited at New York's MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, as well as National Gallery of Art in Washington, MUMOK in Vienna, Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris, Istanbul Modern in Istanbul, The Israel Museum in Jerusalem and The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
The artist founded his private museum in 2004 in order to house a mini-retrospective of his major series, including Urban Walls, Ribbons, Doors and photographs, as well as his early figurative painting. Half of the top floor of the museum is dedicated to his father, and the ground floor hosts a pleasant café and a souvenir shop where postcards, books, mugs, umbrellas, limited edition Corvus wines and Villeroy & Boch plates can be purchased.
Tel. +90 212 244 7770
Balo Sokak 42, Beyoglu
Istanbul FW 2010