Portrait: Raffi Portakal
Raffi Portakal was born in Istanbul in 1946 and attended the Mkhitarist School in Şişli. He then studied psychology at the University of Istanbul.
Years later, he traveled to Paris to improve his abilities as an auctioneer. Back in Istanbul, Raffi and his father collected and auctioned art. “My father was actually a great artist. an artist of the auction. Many who attended his auctions were amazed at what they saw. Their mouths were open, “says Raffi proudly. In 1973 Raffi opened his own gallery. He then specialized in the acquisition and sale of Ottoman paintings and manuscripts.
“I appreciated the fact that they were rare and unique. They were ridiculously undervalued compared to today’s market. Paintings that today bring in millions cost $ 100,000 to $ 200,000 at that time. I made a name for myself in the business. “In 2004, Raffi Portakal began to consolidate his relationship with European collectors and staged the first exhibition of Picasso’s paintings in Turkey. Raffi also organized the collection and museum of Sakip Sabanci, a well-known Turkish business magnate and philanthropist. This collection has been exhibited at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre in Paris, the Berlin Deutsche Guggenheim and other major institutions.
The art and auction house Portakal carries out at least two auctions per year. The Portakal family has always valued more prestige than money. In addition to organizing exhibitions and auctions, the Kunsthaus continues to publish numerous books and catalogs. Today, Raffi Portakal continues the family business with his only child, his daughter Maya. Together they want to open small galleries to exhibit unique works of art in different parts of the world.