Avni Lifij. The Modern of His Time

Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM), hosts the exhibition ‘Avni Lifij. The Modern of His Time,’ providing a comprehensive insight into the versatile artistic production of Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886-1927) who occupies a unique position in the history of Turkish painting.

The ‘Avni Lifij. The Modern of His Time’ exhibition sponsored bySabancı Holding will be open between the dates 15 October 2019 and 12 January 2020 and consist of the artist’s works covering a wide range of genressuch as self-portraits, pochades, landscapes and compositions with figures as well as his articles on politics and culture, art criticism and photographs. Presenting Avni Lifij’s artistic personality in a holistic manner to cover all hisaspects for the first time in Turkey, the exhibition aims to shed light on the 1914 Generation, to which the artist belonged, and the pioneering role he played in Turkish art history.

The ‘Avni Lifij. The Modern of His Time,’ a part of the series including previously held ‘Feyhaman Duran. Between Two Worlds’ and ‘Selim Turan.Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis’ exhibitions focusing on different periods ofTurkey’s art history, presents Hüseyin Avni Lifij, one of the modernist figures of the 1914 Generation with a selection consisting of his masterpieces which have not been exhibited for a long time as well as his works as a pioneering critic, writer and photographer.

The exhibition focuses on Avni Lifij as a man of culture, providing a detailed view of his life and art with a selection of approximately 1000 pieces including oil paintings, studies, drawings, sketches, pochades, photographs, archival materials and personal belongings. Carefully preserved archival materials and personal belongings from the descendants of Lifij, and mostnotably, the wife of the painter, Harika Lifij are exhibited together with the artist’s masterpieces for the first time in Turkish art history. The selection reflecting Avni Lifij’s strong desire to practice his art includes the artist’s works, which are among the masterpieces of Turkish painting history from thecollections of Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum, Ankara Painting and Sculpture Museum, National Library and private collections. The exhibition enables thevisitors to view Avni Lifij paintings such as The Man with a Pipe: The Artist’s Self-portrait, Fevzi Çakmak’s Portrait, Allegory, The Artist’s Self-portrait which have not been exhibited for a long time or which have been in private collections and never exhibited before.

The pochades in the ‘Avni Lifi. The Modern of His Time’ exhibition which focuses on Avni Lifij’s search for a unique place as an artist who lived inthe era of the fall of the Ottoman Empire and proclamation of the Turkish Republic, will enable the visitors to track the development of the style he practiced in his depictions of Istanbul and Anatolia. In order to shed light on the artist’s largely undiscovered works in photography, all glass negatives and photographs in Sirel family archives will be presented together with the pochades to some of which they provided the basis. Avni Lifij’s self-portraits which played a decisive role in his artistic career and which exhibit indications of how he positioned himself during different periods of his life will be exhibited together. His drawings, proofs of his mastery will point to the importance of the figure for the artist, while his sketches depicting architectural details will reflect his interest in city planning and art history, topics he focuses on in his articles as well. The exhibition will also include a collection of all of Avni Lifij’s articlesin the family’s and private collections, providing visitors with the opportunity ofdiscovering the writer Lifij. The artist’s writings in Ottoman and French, including art critiques, articles on city planning, cultural policies and art theoryas well as philosophical texts translated by him will be exhibited in the museum.The same writings will also be published for the first time as a book edited meticulously by the art historian Ömer Faruk Şerifoğlu, to be published in tandem with the exhibition.

The exhibition will provide a comprehensive view of Avni Lifij’s art and life through documentary viewings, conferences, guided tours and children’s workshops, as well as the exhibition catalogue which will comprise of the biography of the artist, articles on his versatile career and a wide selection of his works, thereby constituting a reference book about him.

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Self-portrait with a Red Book, Oil on canvas, 45,5 x 63 cm, Belkıs & Erdal Aksoy Collection

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Man with a Pipe: Self-portrait of the Artist 1908-1909, Oil on canvas, 65 x 46 cm, MSFAU Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum Collection, Inv. no 737/3635

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), The Artist’s Self-portrait, Oil on canvas, 41 x 31 cm, MSFAU Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum Collection, Inv. no 741/3639

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), The Last Self-portrait, Oil on cardboard, 26,7 x 18,8 cm, Ayten & İ. Şazi Sirel Collection

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Portrait of Lifij's Father Abdullah Efendi, Oil on canvas, 38 x 32 cm, Belkıs & Erdal Aksoy Collection

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886-1927), Portrait of Lifij’s Mother, Pencil on paper, 28,7×20,2 cm, Ayten & İ. Şazi Sirel Collection

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886-1927), Portrait of Harika Sirel Lifij 1922, Oil on wood, 46,3 x 37,8 cm, Ayten & İ. Şazi Sirel Collection, Right: “1338 Mart” [1922], Left “From A. Lifij to Harika”

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Fish 1904, Oil on canvas, 48 x 17,4 cm, Belkıs & Erdal Aksoy Collection

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Still Life with Skull and Book 1907-1908, Oil on canvas, 44,5 x 53,5 cm, Belkıs & Erdal Aksoy Collection

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Progress-Municipality Works, Oil on canvas, 173,5 x 505 cm, MSFAU Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum Collection, Inv. No: 1608 / 7310

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Untitled, Oil on cardboard, 14 x 29 cm, Nilüfer Sirel Collection

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Cliff and River, Oil on plywood, 25,9 x 20,9 cm, Nilüfer Sirel Collection

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Cliff and river. Photograph by Avni Lifij, Ayten & İ. Şazi Sirel Collection

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Allegory, Oil on pasteboard, 46 x 38,5 cm, Sakıp Sabancı Museum Collection, Inv. No 200-0119

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Tomb, Oil on hardboard, 28 x 46 cm, Sakıp Sabancı Museum Collection, Inv. No 200-0138

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Tomb in a cemetery. Photograph by Avni Lifij, Ayten & İ. Şazi Sirel Collection

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Landscape, Oil on pasteboard, 41,5 x 32,5 cm, Sakıp Sabancı Museum Collection, Inv. No 200-0242

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Inn’s Gate, Oil on pasteboard, 31,5 x 22 cm, Sakıp Sabancı Museum Collection, Inv. No 200-0243

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Quarters of the Mihrişah Sultan, Oil on plywood, 50 x 41 cm, Sakıp Sabancı Museum Collection, Inv. No 200-0244

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Tomb of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, Black and white pencil on paper, 28,7 x 22,4 cm, Belkıs & Erdal Aksoy Collection

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Outer Section of the Tomb of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, Oil on cardboard, 22 x 15,5 cm, Belkıs & Erdal Aksoy Collection

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), The Dark Day 1923, Oil on canvas, Ankara Museum of Painting and Sculpture, Inv.No: 0266

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), The Bright Day 1923, Oil on canvas, 93 x 119 cm, Management of Libraries and Publications - National Library Collection, ACC.No:000087

Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886 - 1927), Woman at the Recreation Park, Oil on cardboard, 22,6 x 25 cm, Ayten & İ. Şazi Sirel Collection