Serendipity; Fate; Divine Intervention – whatever your paradigm of choice – you have to agree Izzy Sulejmani was granted a providential wife and a masterful business sense. Izzy had been studying the import/ export business when, age 24, he was forced to escape the political strife in his native Belgrade. He and his wife, Deana, the daughter of one of the most prominent architects in Belgrade, and a scholar and a painter in her own right, eventually made their way to Canada. According to Izzy, his wife had wanted to show him Paris; the two made a visit to the Louvre, and Izzy was completely taken by the mastery he saw there. The couple opened a framing shop in Forest Hill in 1992 and later a gallery in Yorkville selling the works of Canadian painters. Again with his wife’s prophetic intuition, they began to sell the works of photographers. The rest is history; with parallels to the success and meteoric rise of photography as an art form in the last decades (after critical resistance for over a century) and the success of Izzy as connoisseur, entrepreneur and business mind behind Izzy Gallery.
He shares his business savvy with us. From the beginning he understood the vast difference between a gallery owner who displays photographs but has no exclusive on the artists he shows, to one who does and establishes provenance. Following the incredibly successful 1st gallery exhibit of the iconic fashion photographer, Lillian Bassman, Izzy became a superstar in the world of art photography, garnering exclusives with some of the most prodigious photographers; and subsequently his gallery became the treasure house for serious collectors and a significant address for the global marketplace.
He attributes his continuous success to the genuine feel he has for the relationships he has forged with artist and collector alike. The renowned photographer, Frank Horvat, applauded him recently by saying that Picasso and Braque, artists of that ilk, might find a dealer like he is 1 in a 100, and that he, Frank Horvat, had waited a lifetime to be represented by someone like Izzy!
Izzy Gallery does 3 exhibits a year (exhibits are very elaborate and very costly to mount) and in the intervening months features the diversity and range of works of the 18 artists it represents. The strategy is to get people interested, open them up to the unique world of photography, educate them to appreciate the depth of artistic expression therein – and to experience a similar aesthetic awakening as did Izzy himself.
Izzy’s Musings on Yorkville:
“It’s a city within a city; you have everything here!”
“It has one of the most beautiful streets in the world to take a stroll.”
According to Izzy, the best thing Yorkville could do is “to bring all the fashion shows in Toronto to Yorkville,” “have all the restaurants in the summer open patios,” and “close the streets on Sundays.” “That would be phenomenal!”
This just in:
A man of “exclusives,” Izzy shared the following with us:
This coming October, Cindy Crawford and the photographer who did her 1st Vogue cover will be at Izzy Gallery. There will be a private preview 2 weeks before the event.
And in November, Mary McCartney, renowned British photographer, daughter of Paul and sister of Stella, will have her 2nd showing at Izzy Gallery.
1255 Bay Street