Arts & Life
11 prominent Turkish painters of 20th century
11 prominent Turkish painters of 20th century
Rooted in the 500-year history of traditional Ottoman miniaturization, the art of painting evolved in Turkey when the society was released from Abdulhamid II’s tyrannical reign. Click through for 16 ingenious Turkish painters of the 20th century you should now about, as compiled by İnci Hazal Özcan:
The man who named a generation, İbrahim Çallı, undertook a revolutionary change in the history of modern Turkish painting. Çallı, mainly inspired by the libertarian art movement, marked a milestone in Turkish painting history where he encouraged many artists to break the boundaries of closed spaces and hit the streets of Istanbul. Çallı’s light-colored palette coupled with agile and aggressive brushstrokes was what made him unique.
Even though he held only one exhibition in his 95-year-long life, Hikmet Onat was one of the doyens of Turkish painting. An important member of the “generation of 1914” and an exemplary Turkish expressionist, Onat is known as the painter of Istanbul and the Bosphorus.
Coming from a long line of artists, authors and actors, Princess Fahrelnissa Zeid was the first representative of abstract art in Turkey, along with being a pioneer of modernism. Known for her exhilarated and vivid brush strokes, Zeid’s expertise is abstract geometric compositions and portraits with psychological aspects. Combining the European abstraction with Islamic and Byzantine art and architecture, the princess’ exceptional designs have provided a different standpoint to global art.
The bohemian boy of Turkish painting history, Fikret Mualla, with his life-long battle with alcoholism, sanity and aggression, was one of the most momentous representatives of Turkish art in Paris. Mualla’s state of mind was full of turmoil, anxiety and estrangement. He was mainly inspired by the Fauvist artist Henri Matisse yet his use of body color and flowing pastel tones resembles the naturalist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. He even accomplished in influencing the acclaimed Picasso.
The first woman founding member of Independent Painters’ and Sculptors’ Association, Hale Asaf was an important name that contributed to the start of late Cubism in Turkey. One of the first woman painters in Turkish history, Asaf was inspired by Fauvist artists such as Matisse and Raoul Dufy in her early works. Asaf is well-known for her portraits, her piercing brush strokes and her bold synthesis of constructivism, Art Déco and late Cubism.
A teacher, poet and painter, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu is much more than the traits he possessed. Eyüboğlu is well-known for creating traditional and cultural pieces by drawing inspiration from Western artists such as Paul Gauguin, El Greco, Cézanne, Georges Braque and Marc Chagall. His compositions vary from landscapes and nude paintings to scenes from traditional Turkish villages.
“Can you paint the picture of happiness for me, Abidin?” is a well-known phrase for Turks, which was addressed by the “romantic communist” of Turkish poetry Nazım Hikmet to the brilliant painter Abidin Dino. A pioneer in modern Turkish art, Dino held countless exhibitions and contributed to the promotion of Turkish art by taking his place in overseas museums. A man of many periods in history, Dino was influenced by many art movements yet he is mainly known for his abstract compositions.
When thinking of abstract art in Turkey, one must give regards to its master, Ferruh Başağa. A student of Léopold Lévy, Başağa was the one to introduce abstract art to Turks. His artwork made him popular abroad, leading the way for him to hold exhibitions overseas. He also tilted towards geometric abstraction, which put him in the limelight. Başağa was also a teacher specializing in stained-glass and mosaics.
An essential member of “The Independents,” Nuri İyem was inspired by abstract and contemporary art as his associates. İyem’s paintings are mainly centered on traditional and folkloric Anatolian prospects. Even though the gifted artist’s pictorial matter was based on abstract tendencies with non-figurative aspects, as his socialist realism preponderated, he turned his head more to the stoic lives of villagers and especially Anatolian women.
İbrahim Balaban, an ex-convict, put eight years of imprisonment to good use to become a prominent artist in Turkish painting history. During his time behind bars, Balaban struck up with world-renowned poet Nazım Hikmet and started to paint with his urging. After his release, the gifted painter commenced to hold many exhibitions. His tendencies are more centered on social realism. Life in villages, the characteristics of Anatolian people and folk epics and myths can be regarded as subjects to Balaban’s masterpieces.
Another gifted artist who traveled to Europe for education, Adnan Turani, is not only a painter but also an academic and art historian. As a student, Turani was more prone to working with abstract art; nevertheless, as he grew as a painter, his tendencies became focused on non-figurative and lyrical abstraction movements. His technique and subjects to his artwork is integral in his compositions, the two elements are tightly coupled.
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