DAĞ, ŞEVKET (1876-1944)
Şevket Dağ was born in Istanbul. On graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in 1897 at the age of twenty-three, he was appointed teacher of art in Galatasaray Lyc6e. Although essentially a realist painter, he worked with free brush stokes in the style of Corot. He is celebrated for his paintings of the interiors of mosques. He took lessons from Osman Hamdi Bey, and followed his master in painting genre pictures reflecting various aspects of Ottoman life. In addition to mosque interiors he would also paint scenes in marketplaces, still-life compositions and the interiors of houses.
In the course of time his work began to be appreciated abroad following exhibitions in European art centers such as Munich and Paris, and he was awarded a gold medal in the Munich International Exhibition of 1909. He later came under the influence of the Impressionists. . Şevket Dağ was one of the founders of the Society of Ottoman Painters.
After the Declaration of the Republic he was chosen deputy first for Konya and later for Siirt. One evening he died of a heart attack on the ferry-boat on his way home to his yalı in Rumeli Hisar, which still stands today with the relief of a brush and palette on the facade overlooking the sea. On the fiftieth anniversary of his death the Post Office issued fifty kuruş stamps bearing a picture of his smiling face.
DURAN, FEYHAMAN (1886-1970)
Feyhaman Duran was born in Istanbul and entered the Galatasaray Lycee at the age of nine in accordance with his mothers wishes. After graduating from Galatasaray in 1908 he was appointed teacher of calligraphy (hüsn-i hatt) in the same school. He was a friend of the poet Tevfik Fikret and a member of the Society of Ottoman Painters. He was particularly interested in portrait painting and went to Paris in 1910 through the patronage of the Egyptian Prince Abbas Halim Pasha to further his studies in this genre. He greatly profited from the teaching of Paul Richet, professor of anatomy in the School of Fine Arts in Paris. He also attended the Julian Academy where he learned a great deal from Jean-Paul and Albert Laurens. In 1913-14 he worked in the Cormon studio in the School of Fine Arts.
On the outbreak of the First World War he returned to Istanbul by way of Marseilles and Pireus in the company of Hikmet Bey (Hikmet Onat), another Turkish painter. In 1919 he contributed to the exhibition opened in the Galatasaraylilar Yurdu, and was awarded a silver medal by the government for his portrait of Dr. Akil Muhtar In 1919 he was appointed teacher of art in the girls section of the Academy. He married Güzin Hanim in 1922.
In the same year he was appointed studio teacher in the Fine Arts Academy, from which he retired in 1951. Although devoting most of his time to portrait painting Feyhaman Dutan also did paintings of flowers and nudes, but he was definitely most interested in the portrayal of people, and he had very little time for non-figurative painting He painted a number of historical pictures commissioned by the Istanbul Naval Museum.
ERSOY, ORHAN (b. 1928)
Orhan Ersoy was born in Akçakoca.. His father was a gendarme officer; with the result that although Orhan Ersoy belonged to an Istanbul family the fact that his father was being continually transferred from one place to another gave the boy an opportunity of becoming familiar with every part of Turkey. In the course of his primary and secondary education he attended schools in various parts of the Country. In 1957 he completed his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in the studio of Nurullah Berk in the department of advanced painting.
The first exhibition to which Orhan Ersoy contributed was a mixed exhibition organized by the Group of 14 in 1952 after which he contributed regularly to State exhibitions of painting and sculpture. He also took part in several exhibitions of painting and sculpture. He also took part in several exhibitions abroad, including the exhibition of Contemporary Turkish Art in the USA in 1971. He won awards in the State Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture in 1976 and in the Historical and Touristic Turkey Exhibition organized by Akbank in 1979. He was teacher of art in the Boys School at BoIu from 1958 to 1968, and since 1968 has been working as an expert and restorer in the Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture. In 1980 Orhan Ersoy published a book of poems entitled Iki Pencere (Two Windows).
EYUBOĞLU, BEDRI RAHMI (1911-1975)
Bedri Rahmi was born in Rize, and was both painter and poet He entered the Academy of Fine Arts in 1928. In 1930 he went to Paris to study the art of painting and w6rked in the studio of Andre Lhote. Here he met Irene, a Rumanian artist who had arrived in Paris a year earlier She became his wife, and changed her name to Eren Eyüboğlu.
While in Paris Bedri Rahmi came under the influence of painters such as Raoul, Dufy and Matisse. The way Matisse covered his con vases with flat, unnuanced colors was very similar to the methods employed by Turkish folk painters. The same approach was adopted by much later students such as Leyla Gamsız.
Meanwhile the first meeting of the group of painters known as the D Group (the six founders were Nurullah Berk, Abidin Dino, Zeki Faik Izen Elif Naci Cemal ToIlu and the sculptor Zühtü Müridoğlu) had been held in the painter Zeki Faik Izers flat in Cihangir in September 1933. Bedri Rahmi joined the group on his return from Europe. These young artists then did something quite unheard of at the time. They opened their first exhibition, devoted entirely to drawings, in the Mimosa hat shop in the Narmanli Yurdu in Beyoğlu. Some of the original drawings from this exhibition were displayed once again in the exhibition held to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the D Group.
When Leopold Levy was appointed Principal of the Academy of Fine Arts in 1936 he had Bedri Rahmi appointed his assistant and translator Bedri Rahmi had continued to write poetry, and he also wrote a number of articles explaining the new type of art. Later he shook himself entirely free from foreign influence and turned to Turkish folk art for inspiration. He first of all made accurate copies of the abstract motifs to be found in kilims, saddlebags and socks, and then adapted these same motifs to a number of different subjects. He continued for some considerable time to work under the influence of folk art in an artistic style quite distinct from that of other painters.
After 1957 he abandoned prints and textiles and turned to mosaic work, not only employing mosaic techniques in his paintings but also creating actual mosaic panels. He produced a mosaic measuring 227 m2 for the Brussels World Fair of 1958, which won the highest prize in the exhibition. This mosaic later completely disappeared. An article which appeared in the Milliyet newspaper in 1982 suggested that at least part of the mosaic had been found.
Bedri Rahmi also created a 50 m2 panel for the restaurant in the NATO building in the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. In the same year he went to America on a bursary from the Rockefeller Foundation. In 1962 he opened a one-man exhibition in New York.
A number of outstanding painters have been trained in Bedri Rahmis studio. He was intimately involved in life and living, and his approach to art is derived directly from life itself. This is an approach inherent in the nature of the folk, and naturally tends towards a decorative art based on vividly contrasting colours. It is an approach that distinguishes one object from the other by means of thick. Contours, that reduces everything to a geometrical design, and that is careful to leave a completely flat surface, perspective being employed, as in the old miniatures, only in size relations. On his return from his last visit to America he turned to purely abstract work, but he remained faithful to mural painting, merely heightening the brightness of the colors.
Sultan Abdülaziz took a keen interest in art, being himself an amateur painter During Münif Pasha s period of office as Grand Vizier, Abdülaziz, decided to open a school of fine arts, and with the realization of this plan in mind he invited Guillemet, a celebrated painter of that time, to take up the position of principal Guillemet arrived in Istanbul in 1869 but, as the plans for the school failed to materialize, he opened a private academy of painting and drawing in Beyoğlu and offered lessons in art to those who applied as students. Guillement also painted portraits of the sultan who had invited him to Istanbul. In addition to the academy of drawing which he opened in 1871 he also organized an exhibition in the Trade School at Sultanahmet. In 1876 he held another exhibition in the academy of drawing in which he exhibited the paintings he had produced since his arrival in Istanbul Unfortunately, most of these paintings were destroyed by a disastrous fire which broke out in the building.
Guillemet painted a number of portraits of people from both court and town, several of which are now preserved in Dolmabahçe Palace. The Russian refugees and prisoners who arrived in Istanbul during the war between Russia and Turkey in 1877 brought with them an epidemic of typhus. The famous French painter fell a victim to the disease and died in Istanbul in 1880.
GURAN, NAZMI ZIYA (1881-1937)
Nazmi Ziya was born in the Horhor district of Istanbul. His surname is derived from the name of the Molla Gurani who Painters family was descended. After completing his secondary education Nazmi Ziya entered the School of political science, from which he graduated in 1901. He did not, however, enter government service, preferring to enter the Academy of Fine Arts. He had shown an aptitude for painting from a very early age, and could have entered the Academy much earlier had his father not refused to allow him to do so.
The death of his father in 1901 left him free to do as he wished. He had already taken lessons in painting from Hoca Ali Riza Bey, and he now became a student of Warnia and Valeri at the Academy. He preferred painting from nature to following the strict prescripts of a dry academicism. Just at that time, in 1905, Paul Signac, the French pointillist painter, arrived in Istanbul. On seeing his paintings Nazmi Ziya was immediately attracted to Impressionism. From that time on Valeri refused to supervise his work on the grounds that he had become an Impressionist and, following quarrels with the principal of the school, Osman Hamdi Bey, and with his own teacher Warnia, he was refused the graduation diploma in 1907.
After finally succeeding in graduating from the Academy in 1908 Nazmi Ziya went to Paris where he worked for three months in the Julian Academy. In 1909 he entered the Cormon studio, and an exhibition of his work in 1912 was very well received. In 1913 he made a short tour of Germany and Austria.
On his return to Turkey he was obliged to take up government employment and from 1918 to 1921, and again from 1923 to 1927 he held the post of principal of the Academy of Fine Arts. He also performed teaching duties in the Academy as well as running a private studio of his own. During the Armistice period he was forced to take on various odd jobs in order to subsist, at one time even working as a shoeshine boy. As principle of the Academy he proved himself a very good administrator, and the disputes caused by his second exhibition in Galatasaray in 1925 revealed him as a debater to be reckoned with. His deep and extensive knowledge was enough to make him a match for anyone. In a study of this painter, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu remarks that he had never been the subject of a serious critical study. Even those who talked of his Impressionism never attempted an analysis of the exact type of Impressionism he represented.
Nazmi Ziya loved to paint the same scene at different times of the day, thus studying the same subject under varying conditions of light. He liked to show how broad daylight eats away the contours of things, and to reveal objects in a color perspective. But that was only one phase in his career before and after this particular period he showed no interest whatever in Impressionism. In his retrospective exhibition of 1937 he exhibited seven different paintings of the same coffeehouse. An examination of these seven paintings placed one after the other helped to promote an understanding of his way of looking at nature and his understanding of color Some considerable time after his death his works were exhibited once more in what was then the Kadiköy Halkevi (Culture Canter) and is now the Peoples Education Center.
HALİL PASHA (1857-1939)
Halil Pasha was born in Çengelköy, which accounts for the large number of landscapes of Çengelköy in the catalogue of his works. His father, Ferik Selim Pasha, was one of the founders of the War Academy, and sent his son to the Military Secondary School. In 1869 Ha/il entered Engineering School and graduated in 1873 with the rank of second lieutenant. In 1874 he was appointed teacher of art at the Military Lycee.
In 1880 Halil Bey was sent to Paris to work in the studios of L6on Gerome and Courtois, returning to Turkey in 1888 after eight years study of art to take up a post as teacher of art in the War Academy. After the declaration of the Second Constitution in 1908 Halil Pasha was reduced to the rank of lieutenant colonel, whereupon he asked for his retirement.
In 1905 Halil Pasha was appointed Assistant Director of the Museum and in 1917 Principal of the War Academy. He contributed the painting Bosphore to the exhibition of one hundred and forty three paintings by Turkish artists held in Vienna and Berlin. Halil Pasha had contributed to every exhibition held in Istanbul since 1874. He was awarded a bronze medal for the two works he contributed to the exhibition of French painters held in Paris in 1900 and a gold medal for the still life displayed in the Vienna exhibition of 1936. He spent some time in Egypt as the guest of Abbas Halil Pasha.
Halil Pasha was in the truest sense a painter of the Bosphorus.
HAMDI, OSMAN (1842-1910)
Osman Hamdi was both archaeologist and painter, and was the founder of both the Istanbul Archaeological Museum and the Academy of Fine Arts. He was the son of the Grand Vizier Ethem Pasha, and was born in Istanbul He was buried on a pine-wooded hill behind his villa at Eskihisar near the town of Gebze not far from Istanbul
Osman Hamdi had displayed an interest in painting as early as 1857, when he went to Paris to study law. Here he took the opportunity of studying painting in both private studios and in the School of Fine Arts. On returning to Turkey after a twelve years stay in France he accompanied Midhad Pasha to Baghdad as charge daffaires for foreign relations. There he remained for two years, during which time he produced a number of paintings. The pictures he exhibited abroad were almost al/awarded either a gold or a silver medal He devoted a few hours each day to painting, a routine he continued until his death. The themes of most of his pictures consisted of genre and figurative compositions set in the interiors of houses.
He founded the Archaeological Museum after a long and bitter struggle, and a/so finally succeeded in having a decree issued prohibiting the looting and theft of works of antiquity. At the same time he directed a number of excavations, the finds yielded by these excavations being sent to enrich the museum he had founded. The famous sarcophagus known as the Sarcophagus of Alexander was unearthed in the Lebanese city of Sidon, which at that time lay within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire, and was subsequently transported with great difficulty to the museum in Istanbul.
Hamdi Bey usually chose themes with an oriental flavor In other words he looked at his own country through the eyes of a foreign traveler The costumes worn by his figures are Arab costumes straight out of the Thousand and One Nights He usually chose himself as the subject of his paintings.
He always signed his pictures Hamdi or Hamdy, using the Latin transliteration of his name rather than the Arabic script in use in Turkey at that time, on the grounds that as he was particularly well known abroad it was essential that his signature should be legible to foreigners.
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