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Kenan Ali Yontunç

1904-1995 
Kenan Ali Yontunç

Kenan Ali Yontunç was born in Istanbul in 1904. After completing his secondary education at the Ortaköy Middle School, he attended the Istanbul High School for Boys. Until 1922, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts under the sculptor İhsan Özsoy. He later went to Germany with his own means, continuing his education at various private studios in Munich. He returned to Istanbul in 1925, working as a teacher at the Erenköy 4th Primary School in 1925-1926, and as a painter in the Ministry of Economy Mobilisation Directorate in 1937-1938. In 1928 he met Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, becoming the only artist to sculpt his mask from life. He would base the design of his subsequent busts and statues of Atatürk on this mask. In the 1930s, he completed busts of statesmen such as İsmet İnönü and Kâzım Özalp. Yontunç entered the Academy of Fine Arts in 1943 as an assistant to Rudolf Belling, who had been invited to become the Head of the Sculpture Department as a result of the reform movement initiated by the Academy in 1936. Yontunç was appointed as a modelling instructor in 1955 and retired in 1969. In addition to those in Istanbul, he also made monuments and statues of Atatürk for the cities of Çorum, Edirne, Mersin, Amasya, Bilecik, Çankırı, and Kayseri.

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