Burhan Dogançay, born in Istanbul in 1929, obtained his early artistic training from his cartographer and artist father Adil Dogançay and Arif Kaptan, a well-known Turkish painter. Later, while studying at the University of Paris, from which he holds a doctorate in economics, Dogançay took art classes at L’Académie de la Grande Chaumière. Following a brief career with the Turkish government, he decided in 1964 to devote himself entirely to art and make New York his home. In 1979, he took US citizenship.
Dogançay embraced urban walls fully as his subject early in his career. Besides his mixed media works on canvas and paper, he has also created shadow sculptures and designed Aubusson tapestries. In the mid-1970s, he embarked on a project of photographing urban walls. Over time, the “Walls of the World” project gained in importance and content and images from the archive were exhibited in 1982 as a one-man exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, that later traveled to the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, and the Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montreal.
For the past 45 years, Dogançay’s work has been widely exhibited in major museums and galleries worldwide and been the subject of many publications. In the spring of 2008, Dogançay participated in a joint exhibition at Istanbul’s Pera Museum with renowned French artist, Jacques Villegle, under the title Collage-Decollage: Burhan Dogançay-Jacques Villegle, which travelled the following year to the Centre Pasqu’Art in Biel, Switzerland. In 2010, Burhan Dogançay: Urban Walls was exhibited at the Ohio University Art Gallery, Athens, Ohio. In 2011, the artist’s photographs The Brooklyn Bridge As Never Seen Before were exhibited at the Aria Art Gallery in Florence. Since May 23, 2012, Fifty Years of Urban Walls, a retrospective exhibition of Dogançay’s works on canvas, has been attracting unprecedented media coverage and thousands of visitors to the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art.
Dogançay is the recipient of many awards and his work has been featured in numerous publications, the most recent one being Urban Walls: A Generation of Collage in Europe and America by British art historian and visiting Getty scholar Brandon Taylor. His work is included in the permanent collections of the world’s most prominent museums. The artist divides his time between his New York studio; Istanbul, where the Dogançay Museum was inaugurated in 2004; and southern Turkey, where he maintains a second studio.