Burhan Cahit Dogançay (Turkish, 1929-2013)
Burhan Cahit Dogançay (Turkish, 1929-2013)

Trojan Horse (from the Ribbons series)

Burhan Cahit Dogançay (Turkish, 1929-2013)
Trojan Horse (from the Ribbons series)
signed and dated 'B Dogancay 1978' (lower right)
acrylic on canvas
24 3/8 x 29 7/8 in. (62 x 76 cm.)
Painted in 1978
A gift from the artist's wife to the 47th International Debutant Ball, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, in 1986.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
T. Messer, Dogançay, New York 1986 (illustrated p. 136).
Sale room notice
Please note that this lot has been imported from outside the EU for Sale and placed under the temporary admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price.

Lot Essay

Intending to pursue a career as a diplomat which conducted him to New York in 1962, Burhan Dogançay decided to make his own way entirely dedicating himself to art, a year later. Born in Istanbul in 1929, shortly after the creation of the Turkish Republic, he rapidly showed an interest in becoming an artist as a young child. However, he first studied law at the University of Ankara and graduated from a degree in economics at the University of Paris during the 1950s. In parallel, he attended courses at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in the lively Montparnasse district of the French capital. When he returned to Turkey, he participated to exhibitions held at Sanatsevenler Club which were successful, gathering the social elite of the city.

The 1970s marked a turning-point in Dogançay’s oeuvre as he discovered a wall with the remains of a poster with various gratifies and spontaneous collages. He effectively gained interest in public walls that he considered a true platform of creation, on which he was able to express himself. Trojan Horse, painted in 1978, is a revealing example belonging to the painter’s Ribbons series which explore the compositions’ illusionistic effects. In this work, a dark background appears to be damaged and the torn red or white sheets let the light and shadows pierce through the canvas. Dogançay also lingered over shapes with curved lines and rounded volumes which add dynamism to the planar support. With this interplay between light and geometric elements, the viewer’s vision is disturbed. The piece intrigues and seems to be giving an infinite impression of superposition of several plans. In that way, he brought mystery and secret to this painting which bears the title of the subterfuge that the Greeks used to enter the city of Troy and with which they won the war. He consequently drew a correlation between this renowned mythological tale and his representation, conveying a veritable symbolism. The horse metaphorically carried the strength of the soldiers who came to free Helen, Queen of Sparta, which the fanciful background containing energy and warmth could be alluding to. Despite the apparent minimal treatment of the subject, the composition appears impressive and complex in a similar way to that of Dogançay’s Red & Black composition sold by Christie’s Dubai in March 2015 (price realised: $197,000).

Having moulded his definitive style, Burhan Dogançay proved his artistic singularity by choosing to focus on walls. He found his inspiration in a support which is part of the common environment and reserved for street art and innovated the pictorial representation ingeniously combining popular culture and technical mastery.

More from Middle Eastern, Modern and Contemporary Art

View All
View All