12 World-Famous Turkish Painters and Their Works That Inspired the World

The leading painters of Turkish painting continue to produce various works that are highly appreciated around the world from past to present with the influence of their unique styles and different artistic approaches. These paintings, which depict different themes such as people, village and city life, nature, streets, and women, continue to inspire many painters today. Here are 12 world-famous Turkish painters who enrich the spiritual world of art lovers!

1. Abidin Dino (1913-1993) – Uzun Yürüyüş (Long March)

Abidin Dino, one of the leading names in Turkish painting, is a versatile artist. Dino met Picasso and he was impressed by his understanding of art. He develops a unique style by interpreting traditional Turkish patterns from a modern perspective. His painting Uzun Yürüyüş (Long March), which deals with the trauma of war and about which Nâzım Hikmet wrote a poem, is one of the painter’s most important works.

2. Mihri Müşfik Hanım (1886-1954) – Peçeli Kadın (Veiled Woman)

Mihri Müşfik Hanım, who pioneered the training of female painters, is also known as the first female painter to initiate contemporary painting studies in our country. The artist, who stands out with her portraits, paints portraits of many politicians, pashas, and man of letters. Atatürk, Tevfik Fikret and Pope Benedict XV are some of the famous people whose portraits the painter had painted. The painter also makes many portraits of women and babies. One of Mihri Müşfik Hanım’s most interesting works is a portrait of a woman called Veiled Woman.

3. Devrim Erbil(1937- ) – Istanbul

Devrim Erbil uses a unique style by blending the Eastern and Turkish understanding of art in his paintings that are created with lines, in which the effects of miniature art are visible. He focuses on birds, cities, nature, and human views, especially in his paintings where he combines a bird’s eye view into a composition with lines and mostly works on a single-color background. His painting titled Istanbul is one of the most important works of the artist, which brings together the characteristic features of his works.

4. Osman Hamdi Bey (1842-1910) – Kaplumbağa Terbiyecisi (The Tortoise Trainer)

Archaeologist and painter Osman Hamdi Bey is the founder of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts Faculty and Istanbul Archaeological Museum. One of the painter’s most important works is his painting called Kaplumbağa Terbiyecisi (The Tortoise Trainer). Stating that the painting depicts the tired state of an intellectual trying to modernize a backward society, Osman Hamdi Bey paints two different versions of the painting. In the first of the paintings, he made in 1906 and 1907, he includes 5 turtles and in the second, 6 turtles.

5. Nuri İyem (1915-2005) – Üç Güzeller (Three Graces)

Adopting a socialist and realistic approach to art, the painter mainly paints portraits of women, migration from village to city and scenes from slum life, in addition to some abstract works. One of the most important works of the painter, who stands out especially with his portraits of Anatolian women, is his painting called Üç Güzeller (Three Graces). The painting, which draws attention with its references to Greek and Roman mythology, is seen as a symbol of the painter’s understanding of art.

6. İbrahim Çallı (1882-1960) – Üsküdar

İbrahim Çallı, who studied art at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, developed his own unique painting language under the influence of the impressionist art movement. One of the most important works of the painter, who played an important role in developing the understanding of contemporary painting in our country, is his work titled Üsküdar. This painting by the painter, who skillfully uses different colors in his palette, attracts attention with the harmony of colors and the reality of the image.

7. Seker Ahmet Pasha (1841-1907) – Ormanda Oduncu (Woodcutter in the Forest)

Seker Ahmet Pasha, whose real name is Ahmet Ali, was sent to Paris by Sultan Abdülaziz to study art. He is the first Turkish painter whose painting was accepted to the Louvre Museum while he was alive. Although Seker Ahmet Pasha comes to the fore with his still-life works, his most important masterpiece is his work titled Ormanda Oduncu (Woodcutter in the Forest). This work is now in the collection of the Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture.

8. Mustafa Ayaz (1938- ) – Kırmızı Çoraplı Kadın (Woman in Red Stockings)

Mustafa Ayaz, one of the first names that come to mind in contemporary Turkish painting, attaches importance to form in painting. The artist, who particularly focuses on women in his works, depicts female figures in a chaos-like composition. One of the painter’s most important works is his painting Kırmızı Çoraplı Kadın (Woman in Red Stockings). The painting with its dominant color combination and emphasis on chaos, is one of the artist’s works that has become a symbol

9. Fikret Mualla (1903- 1967) – Caz Orkestrası (The Jazz Band)

Influenced by the French painter Henry Matisse’s use of color, Fikret Mualla mostly paints under the influence of movements such as cubism, Russian constructivism, German and Japanese printmaking and expressionism. The joy of life is dominant in his paintings, which convey the reflection of his inner world and emotions without adhering to reality. He deals with various subjects such as streets, hotels, women, and hospitals in his paintings. His painting, Caz Orkestrası (The Jazz Band), is one of his important works that depicts musicians and attracts attention with its use of color.

10. Hale Asaf (1905-1938) – Otoportre (Self-Portrait)

Hale Asaf, the niece of Mihri Müşfik Hanım, is one of the first Turkish female painters. Influenced by cubist and constructivist approaches to art, the painter developed a unique style by synthesizing different artistic approaches. She produced very important works, especially in landscape and portrait paintings. One of the artist’s most important works is her painting called Otoportre (Self-Portrait), in which she draws a Turkish woman with a different perspective.

11. İbrahim Balaban (1921-2019) – Harman

Ibrahim Balaban, who draws pictures with a social realist approach, deals with village life and problems in his works. Nâzım Hikmet, whom he met at a Prison in Bursa, was influential in developing the painter’s talent and defined him as the “Yunus Emre of painting”, the “Peasant Painter”. One of the artist’s most important works is his painting Harman, which depicts the village life about which Nazım Hikmet wrote poems.

12. Feyhaman Duran (1886-1970) – Celaleddin Arif Bey

Feyhaman Duran, who paints with an impressionist approach to art, is known as the first representative of portrait painting in Turkish painting. His works include many portraits of Atatürk. One of the most important works of the painter is the portrait work titled Celaleddin Arif Bey, which stands out with its color harmony and delicate details. Celaleddin Arif Bey, the last Parliamentary Speaker of the Ottoman Parliament, had his portrait painted by Feyhaman Duran after meeting him.


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