On Account of This Exhibition…

There are one or more dreams of which each person dreams. Some of these come true some do not. I am experiencing the happiness of having actualized my “great” dreams at least pertaining to my work.

The first of my dreams during my youth was to open a gallery in which I would be responsible for everything, in my father’s business which I would continue. The second of my dreams was to exhibit the rich artistic and cultural values of this country in the Western metropolises, in a style and in locations that they were worthy of.

Opening a gallery was the easiest, no doubt. Simple dreaming, perseverance and knowledge were not enough for the second. People, coincidences and economic means had to come together. The late Sakıp Sabancı, whose memory will always live with me, played a significant role in the actualization of my dreams. The “Ottoman Masterpieces of Calligraphy” exhibition, to the development of which I contributed through the opportunities he provided me with, went around the world in the New York Metropolitan Museum, Los Angeles County Museum, Harvard, Louvre in Paris, and Guggenheim in Berlin. It was the first time a Turkish private collection found such acceptance in these art centres. This exhibition formed the basis of the collection of calligraphy of the Sakıp Sabancı Museum in the establishment of which I also later took part.

I had a third dream, but to tell the truth I never thought I would be able to actualize it. In the past, as I watched sales of paintings in the auction halls of “Hotel Drout” in Paris with my father, I used to ask my father whether some day we would be able to sell a Van Gogh, a Monet, a Renoir in Turkey; and he used to tell me that this was a dream that could hardly come true.

Years went by and the market of arts and antiques improved in Turkey as well. The number of private collectors increased. Private museums were opened, and are still being opened. Nevertheless, the important works of the masters of Western painting did not enter the boundaries of our country as the case was in Egypt and Iran. My father would say it was luck; I shall say perseverance and patience as well. Finally, with this exhibition, I am actualizing another dream of my youth. We have brought together sixteen oil paintings by the great masters of the 19th and 20th century Western Painting and the bronze statue by Rodin at a sales exhibition in Turkey. I consider this exhibition as a small recompense for what I owe to my collector friends and colleagues who have trusted me and have not spared their support until the present day.

May our new dreams have their turn…

Raffi Portakal

Yeniköy, November 2004