Nurullah Berk was born in Beyoğlu, Istanbul, the son of the doctor Colonel Cemal Bey. He began attending secondary school at the Nişantaşı High School, where his first painting teacher was Hikmet Onat. After graduating from the Imperial School (the Galatasaray High School), he attended the studios of Hikmet Onat and İbrahim Çallı at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1920. He attended Ernest Laurent’s studio at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris between 1924-1928. In 1929, he was among the founding members of the Association of Independent Painters and Sculptors. He went to Paris for a second time in 1932, attending André Lhote and Fernand Léger’s studios. He was among the founding members of the d Group in 1933 and served as the group’s art theoretician. Between 1938-1939, he worked as a painting teacher at the Cağaloğlu Secondary School. For twenty-nine years, he was on the teaching staff at the Academy of Fine Arts, where he was appointed as an assistant in 1939 at the request of Léopold Lévy. In 1946, he took a leave of absence from the Academy for a year, and returned to Paris. There, he organised the exhibition titled Today’s Turkish Painting, Yesterday’s Turkey at the Cernuschi Museum, featuring selected works from Turkish and French museums and private collections. In 1953, along with Suut Kemal Yetkin, he founded the Turkish National Committee of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA), affiliated with UNESCO. In 1962, he was appointed as the director of the Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture. With this new title, he presented a report titled “East-West” at the Council of Europe Art Experts meeting in Strasbourg. He remained the director of the museum until retiring in 1969. In addition to his work as a painter and museum director, Nurullah Berk wrote many books, articles, and reviews.
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