“Daughter will succeed to the full-time collector Kabakcı’s projects named after her.”
Nahit Kabakcı, the “Missionary Collector” in his own words, was a good intentioned, sometimes sharp-tongued man who dedicated his life to art. He was 60, and professionally involved in Turkish painting art in the last twenty years of his life. He considered it a life-long marathon. And it was indeed; his heart failed to beat in his last Baku visit where he had travelled for the 2010 approved projects and 2011 planned exhibitions.
Kabakçı was a profound businessman with an engineering background. His interest for art had begun in his university years in Germany. His greatest regret was, as he had told, visiting the gallery three times and then changing his mind to buy a Salvador Dali painting which was worth 6 thousand Marks. However, the good that came out of this event was that Kabakcı headed for collecting.
For his punctilious attention to his work, the “full-time collector” Nahit Kabakcı kept an eye on art fairs, collaborations and exhibitions in Turkey, as well as the world, and he also took business trips. Therefore, he was aware that Turkish painting art was an emerging value. He aimed at doing what no one else did; introducing/promoting Turkish art to global museums. His intention was to begin with Europe and continue with America and Far East to open up to the entire world.
He embarked on collaborating with Karl Osthaus Museum Manager Dr. Tayfun Belgin, with whom he met three years ago, in pursuance of this aim. The small core team agreed with four European museums and began preparing for 2010 exhibitions. As of August, he intended to share this project, which had great significance for Turkish art.
Lack of support in connection with 2010 Istanbul European Capital of Culture Project had upset him and he reproved sharply. Indeed he was right, because he was left alone in the greatest project so far. Those people who had an insight on this business have jumped in the office of Kabakçı within no time.
Interviews were made, television programs were shot. Unfortunately, some people delayed the issue with the thought of making amends with articles of regret, and others criticized his remonstrance.
He was determined to follow his path no matter what; however he spent his last breath at an unexpected time. Hüma, after whom he named his collection, declared that she would realize her father’s wish and proceed with the project at full blast. Nahit Kabakcı passed away, but his ongoing projects and contributions to Turkish art will live with us forever.
November 22, 2009