Admiring fantastic art is one of life’s great pleasures, but when it comes to buying a piece for your home, the prices can be a little daunting. It can feel as if some segments of the art market are simply out of reach. Well, you can cast that thought aside when you head to Galatasaray, one of Istanbul’s thriving artistic districts. Walk down Yeni Çarşı Avenue, past Galatasaray High School, and on the left-hand side you’ll find the open doors and vibrant colors of the Carré d’Artistes gallery. Walk in and take your first step into the world of accessible art.
As you’ll soon realize, this is more than just your average gallery. From oil paintings to collages, the works of artists from around the world are on display, giving life to their stories and their inner worlds through the use of varying techniques and artistic disciplines. The exhibition space itself is thoroughly minimalist, but that’s not to say it lacks a personal touch. Fourteen selected local and foreign artists have their work on display here, and as you’ll discover, each month a new artist bring his or her work to the gallery.
What makes this gallery even more unique is the fact that all the art on display can be purchased at quite reasonable prices. You might be thinking that they must be selling prints, but each piece is a certified original. You might even find that you’ve picked up a piece by say, Mehmet Güreli, and then later realize you’ve made a sound investment as the value of the painting increases. All the pieces in the gallery are on square canvases of 13×13, 19×19, 25×25, and 35×35 cm, hence the name Carré d’Artistes or “squares of art.”
Carré d’Artistes was established in a little space in Aix-en-Provence, France, but its franchise has spread across the world and is now found in more than 30 countries, with over 600 international artists exhibiting and selling their work. The group who started the project hold the principle of “art for everyone” close to their hearts, and their efforts to give everyone access to affordable, original pieces has been dubbed a “democratization of art.”
The fact that the organization was set up to provide artists with a stable income and help them avoid the financial uncertainty that can so often impede their work is another aspect of Carré d’Artistes that art lovers greatly appreciate. And as if that wasn’t enough, each month one artist is transferred to another of the group’s galleries to make sure millions of people are able to appreciate their work. More than 120 artists apply to become part of the movement every month, and two are selected by the team in the headquarters in France to join this ever-growing phenomenon.
The gallery puts on artist signings and live performance events too, adding to its already distinct appeal. Join one of these events, and you might just get the chance to meet the artist who created the piece you have your eye on.