Turkish and Islamic Week: Classical to Contemporary concluded today. This weeks sales of Orientalist paintings, Islamic and Ottoman art, and Contemporary Turkish art achieved a combined total of £16,320,850 ($26,342,005). The top-selling lot of the week was Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovskys View of Constantinople and the Bosphorus which sold for £3,233,250/ $5,215,556, far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of £1.2 1.8 million and setting a new record for the artist at auction*.
The Orientalist Sale 24 April 2012
The Orientalist Sale achieved a total of £5,586,000 / $9,010,777. A record for the artist at auction was established when Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovskys View of Constantinople and the Bosphorus sold for £3,233,250 / $5,215,556 to an anonymous buyer on the telephone, following spirited bidding from at least five bidders in the saleroom and on the telephones. The painting was the top lot sold in the sale, an auction showcasing paintings, drawings and sculpture depicting Turkey, the Middle East, and North Africa. Estimated at £1.2 1.8 million, the Russian masterpiece is one of the artists most spectacular paintings and a tour de force in its evocation of light and atmosphere. Aivazovsky first visited Constantinople in 1845 as part of his duties as official painter to the Russian Admiralty. Completed in 1856, View of Constantinople and the Bosphorus celebrates the beauty and dynamism of a busy port, with the Nusretiye Mosque an important landmark for navigation of the Bosphorus depicted in the right of the painting.
Islamic and Ottoman Art sales:
Sothebys sales of Islamic and Ottoman art, An Eye for Opulence: Art of the Ottoman Empire and Arts of the Islamic World, realised a combined total of £9,203,675 ($14,852,256).
An Eye for Opulence: Art of the Ottoman Empire 24 April 2012
Comprised of a broad selection of works across a variety of media, spanning more than four hundred years of Ottoman art from the 15th to the 19th century, this single owner sale realised a total of £2,750,075 ($4,436,146). In addition to Iznik ceramics, manuscripts, silverware, decorative arts and textiles, the sale also included a number of European paintings and Turqueries, reflecting artistic exchanges between the Ottoman Empire and Europe, and the Wests fascination with the 'exoticism' of the Ottoman court. The auction was highlighted by the sale of an Exceptional Ottoman Voided Velvet and Metal Thread`Çatma' Panel, Turkey, late 16th Century, which achieved £325,250 ($524,661) against its pre-sale estimate of £80,000 - 120,000.
Arts of the Islamic World 25 April 2012
Totalling £6,453,600 ($10,416,110), the auction included distinguished Islamic works of art including magnificent examples of weaponry; rare and important manuscripts; jewellery and fine tapestries and rugs. The sale also featured an exceptional selection of ceramics from Part Two of the Harvey B. Plotnick Collection. The auctions top-selling lot was An Illustrated and Illuminated Leaf from the Shahnameh of Shah Ismail II, which achieved £1,385,250 ($2,235,794) against a pre-sale estimate of £60,000-80,000.
Contemporary Art/Turkish 26 April 2012
The Contemporary Art/Turkish Sale achieved a total of £1,531,175 ($2,478,972). A record for the artist at auction was established at Sothebys in London when Nejad Melih Devrims Abstract Composition sold for £735,650 ($1,191,017)** to an anonymous buyer on the telephone, following competitive bidding from at least three bidders in the saleroom and on the telephones. The painting was the top lot in the sale.
Estimated at £250,000-350,000, Abstract Composition is an exceptionally rare work by the artist, who is one of the most important Turkish artists of the 20th century. The work was offered at auction today for the first time since it was painted in 1952. After remaining in the artists personal collection for 35 years, it was acquired by a prominent collector in 1987 and has remained in that collection ever since. This work is among the largest the artist ever painted and belongs to his most revered 1950s period. It is testament to Nejads mastery in creating the most arresting compositions with geometric abstraction.
*The previous record for a work by Aivazovsky at auction was established in London in June 2007, with the sum of £2.7 million / $5.34 million.
**The previous record for Nejad Melih Devrim was for Composition, 1952 an oil on canvas which sold for 459, 042 (£397, 875/ $657,008) in France in May 2011.