A look at early Turkish painting through a selection from the Sakıp Sabancı Museum Painting Collection!

Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM), is preparing to open its extensive painting collection to art enthusiasts under the title “Turkish Painting from the Ottoman Reformation to the Republic”, beginning on July 31. The collection, which includes the paintings of such prominent Turkish artists as Osman Hamdi Bey, Fikret Muallâ, Halil Paşa, Prince Abdülmecid Efendi and İzzet Ziya, is not only a carefully curated personal collection brought together by the late Sakıp Sabancı with close attention and enthusiasm, but it also stands as a cultural repertoire hinting at the beginning of the evolution of Turkish painting in this country. In this regard, the painting collection is a continuation of the historical significance embodied by the Sakıp Sabancı Ottoman Calligraphy Collection, illuminating the shift in visual representation and shifting meanings of “art” and “artist” during the modernization period stretching from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic.

The collection, which demonstrates the societal and economic transformation of a country through the late-discovered but quickly-adopted medium of painting, showcases numerous significant artworks. Among the must-see pieces in the exhibition are the magnificent painting of Hagia Sophia by Şevket Dağ as well as Halil Paşa’s Madam X, which was exhibited in the Paris Exposition of 1889 and awarded a Bronze Medal, is exhibited at the museum along with its original award document. Another painting worthy of mention is Naile Hanım’s portrait by Osman Hamdi Bey, a definite highlight of the exhibition with its gold ornate background, which hints at the societal structure of the era through Osman Hamdi Bey’s usage of gilding common to Byzantine icons. Another notable feature artwork of the exhibition is Taksim Square by Nazmi Ziya Güran, which portrays the improved living standards brought to the people by the Republic and successfully embodies the freedom brought to Turkish women.

Click here for the Painting Collection page.