East goes west
When Flore and Romain Degoul founded Galerie Paris-Beijing in 2006, they hardly imagined that Brussels would make a third home for their art venture, let alone that it would provide such a vibrant venue. “We were looking for a new space in Europe and quite unexpectedly the current building came on the market,” says director Caroline Courly (pictured) of the art nouveau building by Victor Horta, which plays host to Galerie Paris-Beijing’s Brussels outpost.
Having opened last October, the gallery is spread across 800 sq m taking over two buildings – the ostentatious La Maison Horta and the White Cube, a secluded glass-roofed 300 sq m space in the courtyard dedicated to larger-format exhibitions and installations. Focusing on contemporary photography and art from China, South Korea and India, the gallery also hosts exhibits by established international artists. An example is British photojournalist Martin Parr. At the end of May, Galerie Paris-Beijing is hosting Parr’s first retrospective in Belgium, featuring his famous series “Common Sense”, “Last Resort”, “Small World”, “Luxury”, “Bored Couples” and “Life’s a Beach”.
Russian Art Week
This summer four of London’s most prestigious auction houses are saying “Privet!” to the biannual Russian Art Week. With eight auctions in the first week of June, Bonhams, Sotheby’s, Christie’s and MacDougall’s are showcasing the best of Russian art from the 19th century to present day. “It’s a market that’s becoming even more refined in recent years,” says Sophie Law, head of the Russian department at Bonhams. The last such sale generated £43m in November. Theodora Clarke, editor of the website Russian Art and Culture and founder of russianartweek.co.uk, suggests another reason for the week’s success: “Russian law prevents the export of national art treasures whereas works bought abroad can travel in and out of Russia freely.”
Femme Cubiste (top); Sotheby’s Natalia Goncharova, circa 1920 Oil on Canvas
Mountain Landscape from the series Sanctuaries and Citadels (bottom); Christie’s Nicholas Roerich, 1925Tempera on canvas laid down on masonite
Fishermen on a moonlit coast, Sorrento; Christie’s Ivan Aivazovsky, 1866 Oil on canvas
Q&A - Inan Kirac
Husband-and-wife duo Inan and Suna Kirac have been collecting art by Turkish classics Izzed Ziya, Seker Ahmed Pasa and Osman Hamdi Bey since the early 1980s. Their collection is currently on display at Istanbul’s Pera museum.
How would you describe your collection?
We focus on art that originates from the Anatolian region. The first pieces we bought were Osman Hamdi Bey’s “Two Musician Girls” and Ibrahim Calli’s “Lovers in a Caique”, which I think ignited our passion for art. We also look out for rare artifacts such as Kutahya tiles, porcelain Ottoman figures, and Anatolian rugs.
Which artwork holds a special place for you?
Osman Hamdi Bey’s “Tortoise Trainer”, which I purchased in 2004. It’s special for both my wife and myself, not only because he’s one of the most important painters of his era but the painting dates back to 1906 and encapsulates the unique allegorical story behind it.
What do you think of the current art movements in Turkey?
I cannot say that I understand all of them or would be interested in collecting them but I have observed a rise in street art as a medium. I find its messages very interesting.