Sotheby’s Auctioneers to Host Exhibition of Ottoman Art in Paris

. September 7, 2011 . 0 Comments

Sotheby’s announced that it will present TURKOPHILIA REVEALED, an exhibition of Ottoman art in private collections, at Sotheby’s Paris, from 19th – 22nd September 2011. The exhibition, which will be held during the 14th International Congress on Turkish Art, will comprise important examples of silverware, ceramics, textiles, calligraphy and Turqueries.

Edward Gibbs, Sotheby’s Senior Director and Head of Department, Middle East and Islamic Art said: ‚Sotheby’s is delighted to be hosting TURKOPHILIA REVEALED. This thought-provoking exhibition offers a rare opportunity to view some of the finest examples of arts produced during the Ottoman era. The diversity of Turkey’s decorative arts and Europe’s Orientalist fascination with the Ottoman world are examined in a range of treasures spanning four centuries.‛

In the foreword to the exhibition catalogue, Frédéric Hitzel writes: “We are attempting […] to retrace the evolution of Turkish decorative art history over the course of the twentieth century… This exhibition gives us the opportunity to map the development of this knowledge of Turkish art and to take stock of the advances in research.”

Located at the cross roads of East and West, the Ottomans absorbed a diverse range of influences, including Chinese, European and Persian, to produce a distinctive and coherent artistic language across the repertoire of their decorative arts.

Ottoman expansion into the Balkans from the Fourteenth to Sixteenth Centuries gave access to the region’s lucrative silver mines and the rich traditions of Balkan silversmiths. The exhibition examines this influence on Ottoman art, through a range of exquisite silver domestic objects. A highlight of the exhibition is a covered jug, with gadrooning and dragon-headed handle, made in Istanbul in the Sixteenth Century.

Iznik ceramics have long been recognised as one of the greatest achievements of the Ottoman decorative arts. Tiles were made primarily to decorate mosque interiors, mausoleums and hammams, and a wide variety of everyday wares were produced for local and export markets. The exhibition features a selection of these items, which from the Sixteenth Century were highly prized by European collectors. A wonderful example is the fritware dish with carnations and tulips, underglaze painted decoration on an opaque white glaze, produced in Iznik between 1570 and 1575.

As early as the Sixteenth Century, trading relations between the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe, most notably Venice, were well-established. These blossomed into significant artistic exchanges in the field of the decorative arts. Such interconnections were to persist in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, but on a more theatrical level, through what came to be known as Turqueries. A burgeoning number of traveller’s accounts and ambassadorial reports, enriched with details of court and everyday life, fuelled an appetite for all things ‘Turquesque’. Portraits of the sultans were circulated and sometimes resulted in opulent series of engravings and paintings.

Jean Jacques Francois Riviere, A figure in Turkish costume. Photo: Sotheby’s

Category: Art Culture

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