Rare painting by Turkey's last caliph sold at auction
ISTANBUL (REUTERS) - A rare oil painting by Islam's last caliph, the whereabouts of which were unknown for decades, fetched 1.6 million lira (S$1 million) at auction on Sunday.
An anonymous collector secured Women In The Courtyard, by Abdulmecid II in 1899, after a hotly contested round of bidding. The asking price had been 1.2 million lira.
The painting depicts semi-naked women attended by harem eunuchs around a pool. The work pays homage to the Roman goddess Venus and is a clear nod to 19th-Century Orientalist painters, like France's Jean-Leon Gerome.
"There have been questions about whether the conservative government and new elite would be comfortable with a painting by the caliph that features nudes," Bora Keskiner of Alif Art, the Istanbul auction house which handled the sale, told Reuters.