İstanbul Eindhoven
Modern Times

Artist Biographies

Pierre Alechinsky

(1927, Brussels)

Pierre Alechinsky was educated at l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et des Arts Decoratifs de la Cambre (1944-1948) in Brussels. He had his first exhibition in 1947 and painted as a member of Jeune Pientures Belge. Shortly thereafter, he joined the CoBrA (Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam) movement alongside Christian Dotremont, Karel Appel, and Asger Jorn, and participated in his first exhibition in Paris. Alechinsky’s work became more and more experimental, challenging the expressive potentialities of color, form, and line. Along with sculptors Olivier Strebelle and Reinhoud, he organized Ateliers du Marais, a meeting place for CoBrA artists in Brussels. During this time, he also served as the Parisian correspondent for the Japanese journal Bokubi and developed a passion for Japanese calligraphy.

In 1955, after CoBrA disbanded, this continued interest inspired Alechinsky’s move to Japan, where he observed traditional Asian painting techniques and aesthetics and implemented them to his own work. His paintings began to reflect the artist’s distinct preference for india ink, decorative friezes, a central focus on the line, and biomorphic imagery. In 1956, he created the film Calligraphie Japonaise.

By 1960, Alenchinsky was producing what would become his most iconic work. Central Park (started in 1965) is regarded as one of the strongest embodiments of his aesthetic sensibilities, and Last Day (1964) among his most monumental undertakings.

Hakkı Anlı

(1906, İstanbul-1991, İstanbul)

Hakkı Anlı was a student of Namık İsmail at the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts between 1924-1932, after which he joined the D Group. Impressed by his visit to Paris in 1947, Anlı decided to settle there and continued to work in Paris until his return to Turkey in 1990.

After 1955, during his time at the École de Paris, Anlı started to paint in a lyrical abstract style with broad and dynamic brush strokes. Towards the end of the 1960s, his style became more expressive and between 1969-1975 he painted figurative abstractions.

Avni Arbaş

(1919, İstanbul-2003, İzmir)

Avni Arbaş was a student of İbrahim Çallı and Léopard Lévy at the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts between 1937-1946. He received a French government scholarship to study in Paris for a year and lived in France for the following thirty years of his life. Arbaş returned to Turkey in 1977. His favorite subjects were still lifes, cityscapes and landscapes.

Yüksel Arslan

(1933, İstanbul)

Yüksel Arslan studied at the Department of Art History at İstanbul University. After his first exhibition in İstanbul, he moved to Paris in 1961 where he made contact with various intellectual circles and developed a unique body of work. Arslan uses a technique, which he calls a prehistoric and natural painting method comprised of mixed pigments with a variety of vegetable extracts and such substances as earth, charcoal, eggwhite, fat, honey, and urine. In order to title and describe his work, Arslan combined the word “art” with the “ure” suffix in French (as in “peinture” or “écriture”) to create the word “arture”.

In 1967 Arslan came to Turkey where he opened an exhibition, which led to a legal investigation of the exhibition’s graphic content. Soon after his acquittal he returned to France. In 1969, he concentrated his readings on Marx and Engels, and in 1975, he completed the series Le Capital. Arslan’s wide range of artures were recently on view during a retrospective of his work at santralistanbul in 2009-2010.

Ferruh Başağa
(1914, İstanbul-2010, İstanbul)

Ferruh Başağa studied at the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts in 1936 under Nazmi Ziya, Zeki Kocamemi and Lêopold Levy. 

Başağa was an early practitioner of abstract art in Turkey. He produced numerous murals and stained glass works since 1952. In 1971, he was assigned as an instructor to establish the mosaic and stained glass studios at the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts. From 1980 onwards he worked on geometric compositions based on translucent triangular forms.

Jean Bazaine

(1904, Paris-2001, Clamart)

Though having initially studied sculpture at the Academie Julian, and literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne, Jean Bazaine was pursuing painting and exhibiting in Paris by 1930. His first one-person exhibition at Galerie Van Leer (1932) earned him the kinship of Pierre Bonnard, who encouraged his unique use of color. He continued to develop through the 1930s as both an artist and an art theorist, producing criticism for several periodicals.

After demobilization from the army on account of “degenerate artistry,” Bazaine was instrumental in organizing the 1941 Vignt Jeunes Peintures de Tradition Française; an avant-garde picture show at Paris’s Galerie Braun, in opposition to Nazi occupation. Bazaine was further instrumental in sending traveling shows of French contemporary art to international venues. 

Bazaine produced significant stained glass and mosaic works during his career. Notable commissions include the the ambulatory glass at Saint-Severin Church (1964-1969) and mosaic at the Paris UNESCO building (1960), Skissernes Museum Lund (1965) and Metro-Cluny la Sorbonne (1985-1987).

Nurullah Berk

(1906, İstanbul-1982, İstanbul)

Nurullah Berk attended the studios of Hikmet Onat and İbrahim Çallı at the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts between 1920-1924. Upon graduation, he went to Paris, where he worked at the studio of Ernest Laurent at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris before returning to İstanbul. He went to Paris once again in 1933, where he worked with André Lhote and Fernand Léger, the influence of the latter being particularly critical. 

During the years 1928-1929, Berk was instrumental in the field of modern art in Turkey as a founding member of the Müstakil Ressamlar ve Heykeltraşlar Birliği [the Association of Independent Painters and Sculptors] and the D Group that focused on post-impressionist contemporary artistic practices of the time. Together with Suut Kemal Yetkin, he founded the Turkish branch of the International Art Critics Association (AICA).

Berk was a significant writer, teacher and artist. In addition to his publications on Western art, his numerous lectures in Europe on Turkish art were followed by European critics. Later in life, his interest in Cubism and Constructivism gave way to a different language with influences from folk art, Islamic miniature and linear Arabesque.

Roger Bissière
(1886, Villeréal-1964, Boissièrettes)

Roger Bissière’s early work reflected his interest in Tachisme and Cubist aesthetics. Spontaneous in its brushstrokes and calligraphic scribbles, Bissière’s work was energetic and free of premeditated structures. His work was well received in frequent exhibitions at Salon des Artistes Independants and Salon d’Automne, and was published in Le Corbusier’s L’Esprit Nouveau.

In the 1940s Bissière explored the formats of medieval tapestries and frescoes, the 1944 Louvre exhibition of the Bayeux Tapestry having notable influence. Bissière brought simple, rectangular structures to cloth assemblage, a method that would continue into his later oil paintings.

Notable exhibitions of Bissière’s work include Documenta I, II, and III.

Georges Braque
(1882, Argenteuil-1963, Paris)

Georges Braque’s early works, beginning in 1905, bear the influence of Fauvism. However, after having exhibited in this style at the Salon des Independents, he was greatly affected by the geometric sensibilities at the Salon d’Automne’s Cézanne retrospective in 1907. At this point, Braque’s work began to lay the stylistic groundwork for the development of Cubism, a collaborative endeavor with his colleague Pablo Picasso. Braque’s work from 1909 until 1914 are exciting experiments in geometry and perspective in paint and the papier-collé technique.

Following WWI, Braque abandoned the harsher elements of his earlier abstractions and adopted a more vibrant color palette and various surface textures. Though he eventually reinvestigated the figure, he maintained the emphasis on structure that had always been characteristic in his work.

Braque’s work was notably recognized in the 1933 Kunsthalle Basel retrospective of his work, and he was awarded the first prize in the Carnegie International Pittsburgh in 1937.

Marcel Broodthaers

(1924, Brussels-1976, Cologne)

Marcel Broodthaers’s work is largely interdisciplinary and operates under an impressive range of artistic vocabulary. The cerebral nature of many of his objects reflect the sentiments of the Groupe Surréaliste Révolutionnaire, in which he was involved as a poet. Often ironic, and even satirical, Broodthaers may be regarded as the first artist to inspire and conduct institutional critique.

In 1968, Broodthaers’s work was exhibited at the Musee d’Arte Moderne-Departments des Aigles, an institution he initiated within his own home that continued to engage wşth exhibitions, publications and film screenings. Having no permanent collection, Broodthaers’s modern art museum exhibited reproductions of works of art, fine-art crates, wall inscriptions, and film elements. Broodthaers did not restrict the museum to a permanent location. The Musee d’Arte Moderne-Departments des Aigles appeared in various locations until 1971, when the artist’s “Financial Section” attempted to sell it on account of bankruptcy, an event promoted on the cover of the Cologne Art Fair catalogue.

Notable exhibitions of Broodthaers’s work include Documenta V (1972) and the 1976 Venice Bienale. Broodthaers’s works have been shown in one-person exhibitions at the Walker Art Center (1990), the Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels (1990) and the Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1992).

Jean Brusselmans
(1884, Brussels-1953, Dilbeek)

The early work of Jean Brusselmans developed from a Fauvist approach and was first exhibited in 1921 at Antwerp’s Galerie Breckpot. From this point forward, however, Brusselmans’s technique underwent a fundamental shift. After 1921, he was devoted to creating an independent style, striving for the simplification of planes, the use of basic colors in restricted palettes, and solid geometric structures. The resulting effect, a sensitive balance between strong geometries and delicate colors, is unique to his work.

Brusselmans’s artistic career reached its zenith in the 1930s when he joined the Compagnons de l’Art and the first retrospective of his work was displayed at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels in 1933. His production declined steeply during WWII, however, and continued to do so until his death in 1953.

Cihat Burak
(1915, İstanbul-1994, İstanbul)

Cihat Burak graduated from the Department of Architecture at the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts in 1943. He went to Paris on a United Nations scholarship in 1952 and again in 1961 to conduct research on prefabricated building techniques. Before his return from Paris, he resigned from his job to stay there, where he took up painting.

Burak opened his first solo exhibition in 1957 in İstanbul. He interpreted dilemmas faced by the individual and the society with a humorous folk-inspired style using a critical and ironic perspective, commenting on degenerating values. His visual vocabulary included scenes from everyday life interspersed with elements of fantasy to create an imaginary world.

(1922, Liège-2010, Paris)

After graduating from the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, Guillame Corneille van Beverloo (better known under his pseudonym Corneille) went on to co-found REFLEX and the Nederlandse Experimentele Groep in 1948. Soon after, he co-founded CoBrA, for which he painted and published poetry. In the early stages of his artistic production, Corneille was influenced by Miró and Klee. Several trips to the Sahara proved a profound inspiration for Corneille during that time, as did his collection of African art.

In the 1950s Corneille’s work reached a level of stylistic imagination previously not achieved in his painting. His use of color became more vibrant, and his linework more expressive. His travels appeared in his paintings as bird’s-eye landscapes and lively compositions often recounting the flora, fauna, and women from his journeys.

Adnan Çoker
(1927, İstanbul)

Adnan Çoker graduated from the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts and went to Paris on a scholarship provided by the Turkish Ministry of Education in 1955. There, he worked with Andre Lhote, Henri Goetz, Stanley William Hayter and Emilio Vedova. From 1960 until 1995, Çoker taught at the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts. In 1965, he received a scholarship from Austria and attended the Salzburg Summer Academy where he worked on abstract studies with Emilio Vedova.

Following a second trip to Austria, his tendency towards schematic forms and structural precision became apparent. Later on, he developed patterns from traditionally inspired motifs with free brush strokes – what he defined as “building adornment” – within the geometric spaces of his forms.

Robert Delaunay
(1885, Paris-1941, Montpellier)

In the early years of his artistic production, Robert Delaunay adhered to the aesthetic preferences of Neo-Impressionism and studied the color theory of Michael-Eugene Chevreul. A frequent feature at the Salon des Indépendants, he befriended Jean Metzinger and Henri Rousseau.

By 1909, he painted his first Eiffel Tower, an image that would be the iconic subject of continual investigation for him. The following year, he married artistic collaborator Sonjia Terk. In 1911, Delaunay’s work took him to Germany, where Wassily Kandinsky invited him to participate in the legendary Der Blaue Rieter exhibition at Heinrich Thannhauser’s Moderne Galerie. He spent the following years working in Spain and exhibited work at the Exposition Internationale des arts Decoratifs and the Palais de l’Air at the Paris World Fair. His last works were decorations for the sculpture hall of the Salon des Tuileries in 1938.

Nejad Melih Devrim
(1923, İstanbul-1995, Nowy Sącz)

The son of the artist Fahrelnissa Zeid, Nejad Melih Devrim studied at the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts under Léopold Lévy, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Zeki Kocamemi and Nurullah Berk. He took an interest in Byzantine mosaics, calligraphy and abstraction that had an impact on his work in the years to come. He was among the founding members of the Yeniler [Newcomers] group.

In 1946, Devrim settled in Paris and participated in the exhibitions Salon de Mai and Salon de Réalités Nouvelles. He was among the “École de Paris” artists. He traveled extensively around the world until he stopped traveling in1985 and retired to Nowy-Sacz in Poland.

Abidin Dino
(1913, İstanbul-1993, Paris)

Abidin Dino was trained and educated in Moskow in the field of cinema and set design. He worked at several film studios, including the film titled Miners by the Soviet director Sergei Yutkevich. In 1933, Dino founded the D Group and was also a member of the Yeniler [Newcomers] group. During WWII, he made drawings inspired by the current political situation and his treatment of political subjects drew the ire of officials. In 1941, the martial law command of İstanbul exiled him to southeastern Anatolia. Dino settled in Paris in 1952 and produced works in such disparate fields as caricature, sculpture, ceramics, cinema, and literature.

Victor Dolphijn
(1909, Diest-1992, Antwerp)

Victor Dolphijn’s traditional painting techniques brought him prominence as a professor at the Academie van Gent. He is noted for having promoted a solid foundation in classical representation, when more stylized approaches were a common pursuit in the academic setting. In 1962, he founded the neo-classical Antwerpse School, which further promoted realism and acted as its leader.

The subject of Dolphijn’s work was primarily still lifes and portraits. Bold, sober and simple, they often depict the noble experience of the common man. With a controlled and natural-toned palette, his work paid homage to the 17th century painters that preceded him.

Dolphijn’s work is in the collection of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp.

Raoul Dufy
(1877, Le Havre-1953, Forcalquier)

Raoul Dufy’s art was well received immediately upon his graduation from l’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts, enjoying the support of Berthe Weill and Maurice Denis during his early career. A painter of Norman landscapes, he was inspired by the works of Monet and Pissarro. The depiction of environment common to these artists proved a continual inspiration for Dufy’s social and festive scenes.

In 1905, another artist irrevocably shaped Dufy’s perspective; Matisse’s Luxe, Calme et Volupte (1904) in the Salon des Independants left a lasting impression on Dufy’s sense of color. Dufy’s beach scenes and still-lifes sought to achieve a purity in color from this point on, and became popular for their Fauvist exuberance.

Dufy’s work was exhibited at the annual Salon des Tuileries throughout the mid-20th century and earned him the title of “the granddaddy of modern chic” in Time magazine.

Edgar Fernhout
(1912, Bergen-1974, Bergen)

Edgar Fernhout’s years spent in Amsterdam (between 1945 and 1956) mark a time of personal innovation in his practice. Eventhough the artist’s earliest works − which focused mostly on portraiture and still-lifes − adhered to academic traditions of representation, the works Fernhout produced after WWII developed abstract qualities. When he moved to a studio house in De Vlerken, Bergen in 1956, Fernhout traded his naturalistic depictions for freer, interpretive landscapes. The artist’s attention to simplification and light was paramount to this development.

Later in his career, Fernhout began teaching at Atelier 63. It is around this time that his color palette became darker and more restricted, which allowed for the dynamic, and often monochromatic interplay of intersecting shapes.

Leo Gestel
(1881, Woerden-1941, Hilversum)

Leo Gestel’s early works are explorations of Cubist, Expressionist and Futurist approaches. By 1913, his reputation had grown as a leader of Dutch modernism and he was asked to exhibit his work at Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon in Berlin. His international career allowed him to exchange sensibilities with the Parisian avant-garde and move throughout various artist circles.

Juan Gris
(1887, Madrid-1927, Boulogne-sur-Seine)

After studying mechanical drawing at Escuela de Artes y Manufacturas, Madrid, Juan Gris began painting under Jose Maria Carbonero. It was not until Gris’s move to Paris in 1906, which resulted in his acquaintance with an active circle of artists including Matisse, Braque and Léger, that his work became experimental.

His production consisted initially of illustrations he submitted to Parisian magazines, but by 1910, he began working on sophisticated explorations of the Cubist style. Gris adopted the fragmented planes that are the signature style of Cubist works, but employed a lyrical and emotive sense of color that is rarely seen among his contemporaries.

American writer, poet, and art collector Gertrude Stein, who spent most of her life in France, called Gris “the one person that Picasso would have willingly wiped off the map.”

Hans Hartung
(1904, Leipzig-1989, Antibes)

Hans Hartung, a student of art and art history in Germany, spent most of his artistic career in Paris, where he was inspired to move after viewing modern French works in the 1926 Internationale Kunst Ausstellung in Dresden.

Debuting with a solo exhibition at Galerie Heinrich Kühl in Dresden (1931), Hartung’s early work expresses calligraphic interests, that become the focus of his abstraction between 1932 and 1934. His oeuvre is notable for its gestural movements and graphic qualities. The use of line to build dark, textural forms is also characteristic of his work. Hartung’s abstractions, which reject the tradition of observation, reflect the tensions of immediate experience in terms of the physicality of application and dynamic organization in his paintings.

His artistic production was interrupted during the WWII, when he served in the French Foreign Legion. However, he exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1960, an event that awarded him the International Grand Prix.

Zeki Faik İzer
(1905, İstanbul-1988, İstanbul)

Zeki Faik İzer was a student of Hikmet Onat and İbrahim Çallı at the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts. İzer studied at the studios of André Lhote and Emile-Otton Friesz in Paris. He joined the D Group in 1933 and a year later went to Paris for another two years to study ceramics and fresco techniques. In 1937, he established the photography studio at the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts. After his retirement from the academy, where he had held the position of Director for some time, İzer lived in France for over a decade.

Following a period of painting lyrical depictions of nature, İzer shifted to figurative compositions from which he moved on to abstractionism, which displayed a highly emotive style. He also produced collage paintings and some of his works from the 1980s show traces of inspiration from Middle Eastern and Seljuk carpets.

İlhan Koman
(1921, Edirne-1986, Stockholm)

After graduating from the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts, İlhan Koman went to Paris on a state scholarship for further studies at the Académie Julian and Académie de la Grande Chaumière. He participated in the Salon de Réalités Nouvelles exhibition. In 1951, Koman returned to Turkey and taught at the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts before moving to Sweden, where he would spend the rest of his life.

Koman attributed his early sculptures to his “Iron Age” and later moved on to using materials including aluminum, wood, plastic and bronze. Around 1965, Koman started working on diverging geometrical forms. Many of these works have kinetic properties, such as flexible three dimensional Moebius bands and polyhedra. He developed these forms as prototypes in various materials to be realized as large-scale works.

Herman Kruyder
(1881, Lage Vuursche-1935, Amsterdam)

Herman Kruyder’s early work, with stained glass and floral watercolors, adopted new content and approach after WWI. He replaced the subjects of his still-lifes with more documentary-style images that spoke to his wartime experiences. Demanding a more expressive application of paint, his work during this time employed the techniques of Expressionism and Cubism.

Kruyder’s work became regionally popular, with his first solo show held at J.H. Dubois in Haarlem in 1918. His work exists in public collections throughout the Netherlands, most notably in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Van Abbemuseum.

Ger Lataster
(1920, Schaesberg-2012, Amsterdam)

Though the early works of Gerard (Ger) Lataster responded to a Fauvist influence, the most dynamic works, produced after WWII, are further abstracted investigations of color field and form. Lataster’s compositions make use of bold, primary colors, and fervent, expressive application of paint in swirling forms.

Fernand Léger
(1881, Argentan-1955, Gif-sur-Yvette)

Fernand Léger (Joseph Fernand Henri Léger) was trained originally as an architect. Influenced by the 1907 Cézanne retrospective at Salon d’Automne, Léger began to integrate an interest in geometry and emphasis on drawing in his work. Two years after this retrospective, he moved to Montparnasse and fell in with the company of avant-garde circles. During this time, he developed what critics called “Tubism,” his personally interpreted Cubism, abundant with cylindrical form.

Beginning in 1910, Léger’s work became increasingly abstract as it prospered with his participation in the Section d’Or. By 1912 his work was celebrated with his first solo exhibition at Galerie Kahnweiler in Paris.

Léger developed an interest in industrial subjects, featuring keys and pipes in a number of his pieces. This was a fixation that Léger brought with him to the United States during WWII, where the contrast of industrial refuse amongst the landscape served as inspiration for him. By the time that he returned to France in 1945, his work stressed object over subject entirely.

In 1960, the Musée Fernand Léger opened in his honor in Biot, Alpes-Maritimes, France.

El Lissitzky
(1890, Pochinok-1941, Moscow)

Though formally employed in the Soviet Union for propaganda works and exhibition display, El Lissitzky was well-known throughout the Russian avant-garde for his work in the advancement of Suprematism, alongside Kazimir Malevich. His graphic style and emphasis on geometry endeavored to articulate a new visual language for a utopian, socialist society, and would further make him useful to the Bauhaus and Constructivist artists that followed him.

In 1919 Lissitzky became a professor at the art school in Vitebsk, where he met Chagall and Malevich. Shortly after, he produced what he called Proun, which accommodated Lissitzky’s desire to merge painting and architecture. These works created a meeting place for the previously established tenets of Suprematism with new spatial and perspectival elements.

Lissitzky moved between Moscow, Berlin and Switzerland in his later years, finally returning to the U.S.S.R. to continue his work within the scope of Social Realism.

André Marchand
(1907, Aix-en-Provence-1997)

André Marchand was a painter of the New Paris School and founding member of the Salon de Mai.
Though he had no formal training, Marchand’s work as a painter began in his youth with watercolors of Montagne Sainte-Victoire and frequent visits to the Louvre. In 1932, he began exhibiting at Salon d’Automne and Salon des Independants and became a member of the Forces Nouvelles.

Marchand’s appreciation of his environment proves paramount to his oeuvre. The landscapes of Provence and the forests of Bourgogne are frequent subjects in his work, translated by the lush gestures of his organic line. His later work bears the chromatic influence of his 1967 travels through Guatemala and Mexico, which show a notable increase in brightness and vibrancy.

Fikret Mualla
(1903, İstanbul-1967, Reillanne)

Fikret Mualla became absorbed in painting while he was studying engineering in Sweden. He later moved to Paris to study under André Lhote.

Upon his return to Turkey, Mualla designed costumes for operettas and worked on illustrations for books and magazines. He busied himself with depicting bustling views of İstanbul’s port –the crowds and the vendors – employing vigorous lines. His work began to be recognized in Turkey and he produced many paintings of İstanbul for the Turkish Pavilion at the international exhibition in New York in 1939. From 1940s onwards until the end of his life Mualla continued his practice in Paris. His subjects included Parisian cafés and bars, street scenes, places of entertainment, landscapes and a range of portraits. He worked quickly in an expressive manner, using bright colors in gouache, usually on small sheets of paper.

Mübin Orhon
(1924 İstanbul-1981, Paris)

Mübin Orhon graduated from Ankara University, Faculty of Political Science in 1947. In 1948, he traveled to Paris by his own means and began painting in the atmosphere of liberation that pervaded nearly every aspect of the arts in post-war Paris. Orhon attended drawing classes at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière.

Orhon succeeded in forcing the limits of canvas painting from the standpoint of the subjects that he investigated and the visual satiety that he was able to achieve; as well as in attaining a mystical depth and unity by serializing the relationship between image and form. Within the framework of his relations with his contemporaries, his approach to painting can be categorized under different characteristics, including geometrical, Tachist abstractionist, lyrical expressionist and monochromatic. Orhon’s work was not widely recognized in Turkey for the majority of his career.

Pieter Ouborg
(1893, Dordrecht-1956, The Hague)

Pieter Ouborg spent the beginning years of his career teaching in the Dutch Indies to evade military service in WWI. After the war, he continued to teach drawing and art history in the Hague. Self-taught, he worked predominantly in landscape, until his introduction to Surrealist reproductions inspired a change in his subject matter. His “Blue Period” (1930-1940) yielded paintings of East Indian masks and puppets and eventually displayed the influences of CoBrA during WWII. His work after 1945 bears a dramatic and more exuberant use of color.

The artist was the 1950 recipient of the Jacob Maris prize; Ouborg exhibited his work in the Stedelijk and Gemeentemuseum.

Pablo Picasso
(1881, Málaga-1973, Mougins)

After his studies at the school of fine arts La Lonja in Barcelona when he was 14 years old and Madrid’s Academia Real de San Fernando when he was 16, Pablo Picasso settled in Paris in 1904.

As the renowned co-founder and pioneer of Cubism, Picasso and his colleague Georges Braque aimed to reinvent the articulation of perspective. Integral to their approach was a fragmented and geometrical presentation combined with an investigation of the two-dimensionality of the canvas surface. By 1907, Picasso had rejected the traditional approaches that informed his work through his Blue and Rose periods, and committed to the exploration of Cubism. His most renowned works in the style include Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) and Guernica (1937) which remain among the most highly regarded works of the 20th century.

Museu Picasso opened in Barcelona in 1963, followed by a number of other Picasso museums and foundations.

Serge Poliakoff
(1906, Moscow-1969, Paris)

After fleeing the Russian Revolution in 1917, Serge Poliakoff came to Paris in 1923. He spent the years in between travelling through İstanbul, Sofia, Belgrade, and Berlin. When he settled in France, Poliakoff continued his education at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere and Academie Frochot.

By 1945, his first abstract paintings were included in an exhibition at Galerie Niveau in Paris. This decade saw Poliakoff’s abandonment of figurative work and his increasing exploration of colorfields. His earliest works of this time rely on earth-toned color schemes, while his later compositions are bolder and more contrasting.

Poliakoff kept a prestigious list of affiliations that included close friendships with figures such as Robert and Sonia Delaunay and institutions including the Musee de Beaux-Arts in Grenoble and the Musée du Luxembourg. Throughout the 1950s, his work was frequently sought after by prominent institutions and Poliakoff participated in various international exhibitions. At the climax of his career, he exhibited a room of paintings in the Venice Biennale in 1962.

Selim Turan
(1915, İstanbul-1994, Paris)

After graduating from the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts in 1938, Selim Turan worked at various schools as an art instructor and was one of the founders of the Yeniler [Newcomers] group. Upon receiving a scholarship from the French government in 1947, Turan went to Paris, and settled there. He taught at the Académie Ranson between 1953-1955 and at the Académie Goetz between 1976-1983.

In Paris, Turan became attracted to abstraction. His lyrical and abstract compositions, vibrant colors and calligraphic brush strokes were associated with École de Paris.

Theo van Doesburg
(1883, Utrecht-1931, Davos)

Theo van Doesburg was a Dutch painter, architect, designer and writer. Van Doesburg had published an impressive number of articles by as early as 1912. He signed his work under various names, including I. K. Bonset (in his role as a Dadaist poet) and Aldo Camini (in his role as a Futurist), in addition to his own. In 1916 van Doesburg participated in the foundation of the artists’ associations De Anderen and De Sphinx where he met other like-minded artists, including Bart van der Leck, and architect J. J. P. Oud, all of whom became actively engaged in De Stijl.

In 1920 and 1921 van Doesburg undertook work in Drachten for the architect Cornelis de Boer. Van Doesburg’s color schemes (produced for a block of middle-class housing and for an agricultural school across the street) linked interior with exterior, and the primary colors on the housing had their counterpoint in the secondary colors of the agricultural school. While working on these color schemes he also became increasingly involved in Dada activities. In the mid- 1920’s van Doesburg transitioned from painting to architecture. This was marked by his intention to build a studio-house for himself, which he was unable to finish. Shortly before his death he published his first and only issue of Art concret.

Geer van Velde
(1898, Lisse-1977, Cachan)

Geer van Velde’s early career flourished under the support of the design firm Schaijk & Eduard Kramer, where he apprenticed in the Hague until he moved to Paris in 1925. Paris granted him access to important figures such as Samuel Beckett and Peggy Guggenheim, who would also become supporters of his work.

Van Velde’s visual language is a culmination of architecture and light; his work often features geometric forms dissolving into softer, monochromatic implications of depth. As van Velde’s work matured, it increasingly began to reflect a purer sense of atmosphere, inspired by his move to Mediterranean France.

Van Velde’s work gained recognition after it was exhibited in Peggy Guggenheim’s London gallery in 1938, followed by an interest from Gemeentemuseum in the Hague and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman
(1882, Leens-1945, Allardsoog)

Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman’s body of work explores the tradition of print. His earliest productions developed in his independent publishing house in Groningen and as posters and catalogues through the artist group De Plough. He published his own international avant-garde magazine The Next Call from 1923-1926, which featured experimental collage and typography.

Werkman is perhaps best known for the colorful pressure-prints he created in the clandestine De Blauwe Schuit publishing house. These prints, though bright in color, are expressions of resistance. Depicting Hasidic scenes from the legend of Baal Shem Tov, they are bold statements against the Nazi occupation of Groningen.

Although an unfortunate amount of Werkman’s work was destroyed in the city fıre just after its liberation, a significant grouping of Werkman’s art was acquired by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam prior to WWII.

Theo Wolvecamp
(1925, Hengelo-1992, Amsterdam)

Theo Wolvecamp was one of the co-founders of the Nederlandse Experimentele Groep as well as the Dutch branch of the international CoBrA group. Following the founding of Nederlandse Experimentele Groep, his work immediately began to feature dark color-schemes and impasto techniques. Wolvecamp’s imagery was comprised of fantastical figurative elements such as imaginary beasts, often emerging from heavy outlines. During this time, Wolvecamp actively published work in REFLEX, CoBrA publications, and META. However, by the end of the 1940s, uninspired in the city, he returned to his native countryside to paint.

Much of Wolvecamp’s work did not survive his own criticism, and was therefore less frequently exhibited than the work of his contemporaries.

Andrzej Wróblewski
(1927, Vilnius-1957, Tatry)

Andrzej Wróblewski’s early career as a painter was interrupted by the German invasion of Poland, although he continued to practice and study underground. After WWII, he relocated to Krakow and immersed himself in artistic studies and the Polish avant-garde. There, he founded an autodidactic group with colleagues, in opposition to the modern French styles and Kapist influence that were predominant in the academic community. In 1948, Wróblewski’s work was first publicly exhibited in Krakow’s 1st Exhibition of Modern Art, where he openly expressed wartime traumas in his “execution series.”

Wróblewski’s work progressed as figurative confrontations with German occupation in oil and gouache. Many of these works are contingent upon the deformation, deindividualization, and destruction of the human body. The headless figure is abundant in Wróblewski’s imagery. His later style adopted the tenets of Social Realism, placing special emphasis on domesticity and family.

Ossip Zadkine
(1890, Vitebsk-1967, Paris)

Educated in London, Ossip Zadkine settled in Paris in 1910. His early sculptural works express an identification with the Cubist movement, which Zadkine explored until 1925.

His inspirations included “primitive” art and his experiences as a stretcher-bearer in the front lines during WWI. In Paris, Zadkine’s acquaintance with Picasso and Modigliani substantially support his stylistic and sculptural explorations.

Expressive in their geometric forms, Zadkine’s sculptures brought him much acclaim. By the 1920s, they were highly sought by various institutions to be included in their collections. After WWII, Zadkine produced what could be considered his most renowned work, including the angular bronze sculpture De Verwoeste Stad (1953); a memorial for the German destruction of Rotterdam in 1940.

Fahrelnissa Zeid
(1901, İstanbul-1991, Amman)

A member of a distinguished family of statesmen and intellectuals, the Fahrelnissa Zeid attended the İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts where she studied under Namık İsmail. She then went to Paris, where she worked at the Académie Ranson under Stalbach and Roger Bissière. On returning to İstanbul, she joined the association of young Turkish painters known as the D Group, which was founded in 1933.

Zeid produced both textural and lyrical-abstract paintings. Following her first one-person exhibition in İstanbul, she was invited to exhibit in various cities including Paris, London, New York, Brussels and participated in several group shows including Salon des Réalités Nouvelles. Zeid married the Jordanian diplomat Prince Emir Zeid el Huseyin, and started living in Amman 1975 onwards, continuing to travel around the world.