Dogançay Museum

Balo Sokak 42, Beyoglu Istanbul 34335 | | +90-212-244 77 70

Opening Hours: 10.00am-6.00pm Mon-Sun


The Doğançay Museum officially opened its doors to the public in 2004. It is housed in a historic 150-year-old five-story building located in the heart of Beyoğlu district and provides a general overview of a small part of the prolific oeuvre of Burhan Doğançay, one of Turkey’s leading artists. This mini-retrospective spans five decades of Doğançay’s artistic evolution starting with his early figurative paintings up to his wall-inspired works as well as photographs. One room of the museum showcases the work of his father, Adil Doğançay.

Adil Doğançay was born in Istanbul in 1900. An officer in the Turkish army, he was also a well-known painter. His works are predominantly impressionistic land and seascapes and still lifes in oil on canvas. Few of his paintings are dated; most of those on display in the museum were completed between 1940 and 1990, the year he died. As a topographer in the army, Adil traveled all over Anatolia, which gave him the opportunity to spend hours surrounded by nature. He produced most of his paintings outdoors, calling nature his “greatest teacher”.

Burhan Doğançay’s early artistic training was provided by his father and the well-known painter Arif Kaptan. During the early 1950’s Doğançay spent a significant part of his student years in Paris studying art at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere while simultaneously pursuing his studies in law and economics at the University of Paris. During this period he continued to paint regularly and to show his works in several group exhibitions, including joint exhibitions with his father at the Ankara Art Lovers Club. Following a brief career in the diplomatic service which brought him to New York City in 1962, Doğançay decided in 1964 to devote himself entirely to art and to make New York his permanent home. Since the opening of his museum, however, he has been dividing his time between New York, Istanbul, and the south of Turkey where he also maintains a studio in Turgutreis.

Burhan Doğançay is primarily known for a body of work that grew out of his fascination with urban walls. Spanning a period of almost fifty years, this preoccupation was inspired by his travels to more than 100 countries and has been consistently translated into paintings, graphics, Aubusson tapestries, sculptures and photographs. While urban walls are the recurring theme, the different styles in which they are rendered, vary greatly. Dogançay re-creates walls in different series, relating to doors, colors, graffiti-types or the objects which he incorporates in his works. With posters and objects gathered from walls forming the main ingredient for his work, it is only logical that Doğançay’s preferred medium has been predominantly ‘collage’ and to some extent ‘fumage’. In the 70’s and 80’s he gained notoriety with his interpretation of urban walls in his signature ribbons series, which in contrast to his collaged billboard works consist of clean paper strips and their calligraphically-shaped shadows. This series, which grew out of three-dimensional maquettes, later gave rise to alucobond-aluminum shadow sculptures. His collage and fumage works from the cones series form another easily recognizable style.

Urban walls have a special meaning for Doğançay: they serve as a testament to the passage of time, reflecting social, political and economic change. They also bear witness to the assault of the elements and to the markings left by people. This, according to Doğançay, is what makes urban walls monuments to the human experience and his oeuvre an archive of our time.

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