New Exhibition: Feyhaman Duran. Between Two Worlds

12 January 2017
New Exhibition: Feyhaman Duran. Between Two Worlds
The Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum, on the 15th anniversary of its founding, is hosting one of the leading representatives of the 1914 Generation, Feyhaman Duran with the exhibition “Feyhaman Duran. Between Two Worlds”

The Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum is hosting the exhibition of Feyhaman Duran, widely regarded as the founder of portraiture within Turkish art history, showcasing over 1,000 works by the artist and his personal belongings, with the support of Sabancı Holding and in cooperation with Istanbul University.

The Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM), in the 15th anniversary of its founding, with the support of the Sabancı Holding and in cooperation with Istanbul University, is getting ready to present an exhibition of one of the leading representatives on the 1914 Generation Feyhaman Duran (1886-1970). The exhibition “Feyhaman Duran. Between Two Worlds,” beginning on January 12, will feature his life and work.

The exhibition will shed light on Feyhaman Duran’s life and include the broadest sample of his work. Over 1,000 of his works, which tracks the transition from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic and reveals his amalgamation of Ottoman tradition with western art; some parts of his home in Beyazıt, Istanbul where he lived most his life with his wife Güzin Duran are all included in the exhibition with presentations that reveal his daily life and studio. These presentations, with painting tools and material, furniture and Ottoman calligraphy collection, allow a glimpse into the thinking of one of the trailblazing painters of Turkish history of art and his era. There is also a compilation of paintings, which can be described as Feyhaman Duran’s “special collection,” including landscapes, still-lifes and pochades, alongside his portraits which he was best known for.

Güler Sabancı, Founding President of Sabancı University, said she was happy to support Feyhaman Duran’s first comprehensive exhibition and added: “We wanted to celebrate and begin our 15th year by upholding our own values and exhibit the work of an artist from this land. Additionally, this exhibition is important for us because it brings together two academic institutions. Feyhaman Duran was an artist who lived during both the late Ottoman and early Republican eras. Consequently, we need to see this exhibition not only as an opportunity to get to know Feyhaman Duran and his work and life but also to learn about and understand our history. As you know, the Sakıp Sabancı Museum belongs to one of our youngest tertiary education institutions of our country the Sabancı University. And this exhibition was made possible thanks to the contributions to one of the oldest the Istanbul University. Such an established institution trusted in the experience of its much younger counterpart and facilitated such a cooperative endeavor between the two academic bodies. The Istanbul University generously shared the artist’s work and personal belongings with us. I hope these two universities’ cooperation will provide an inspiration for other institutions. We, as a country, are passing through a trying period. We believe the best way to overcome such obstacles is to work harder and be more productive. In such days, art acquires a higher importance because it unites, improves and beautifies. It shows new ways to understand our history and present.”

SSM Director Dr. Nazan Ölçer, speaking on the exhibition, said: “We, as the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, are proud to host a comprehensive exhibition of Feyhaman Duran. We are especially happy to hold this huge exhibition on the 15th anniversary of our founding. We are especially indebted to the Istanbul University for being able to present the richest and broadest ever such exhibition of the painter, whose 130th birthday was last year. The artist’s decision to leave his home, including all his furniture and other belongings, to the Istanbul University for preservation, while allowing his wife the right to use, and his wife’s subsequent death a short while after his, resulted in the university to own not only the artist’s work and belongings, but also everything connected with his long life. This is why the collection we are now exhibiting also allows us a glimpse into the very private life of the artist. Hundreds of pochades which he shared with no one but his wife provide us for the first time with a guide to understand his working system.

During the preparatory stage of our exhibit, we tracked step by step Feyhaman Duran’s life, from his birth in an enlightened Ottoman family in 1886, in Istanbul’s traditional atmosphere at the time to the European world of Beyoğlu. We tried to portray the years he grew up in Istanbul through documentary footage obtained from foreign sources. To better understand his years in Paris of the 1910s, when his talent was truly developed through an academic process at École des Beaux-Arts and Académie Julian, was likewise tracked through footage obtained from the archives of various foreign institutions and film museums. We wanted for our visitors to truly understand how Feyhaman Duran lived and worked by also transferring his modest timbered home in Beyazıt, one of Istanbul’s most unique and oldest neighborhoods, which was inherited from the calligrapher grandfather of Feyhaman Duran’s wife Güzin Duran, and where the couple lived and worked together.”

The Rector of Istanbul University, to which the artist bequeathed all his belongings, Prof. Dr. Mahmut Ak said: “Feyhaman Duran. Between Two Worlds” exhibition is a valuable project based on Istanbul University Feyhaman Duran Culture and Arts House Collection, which is an important cultural heritage for both Turkey and the world. We, as the Istanbul University, aim to ensure all collections collected by the university with incredible labor are preserved for posterity. Istanbul University Feyhaman Duran Collection is one important result of this determination. This exhibition, which demonstrates the value we attach to art, artists, cultural heritage and cooperation, will be an important resource for all those who are interested in the history of Turkish painting.”

The exhibition will include documentary screenings to shed light on the era of Feyhaman Duran’s life and work, to be supported with conferences and workshops for children and photographs. The exhibition catalogue will include various articles that assess different sections of Duran’s artistic life, a detailed research on the influence of the Hidiv family, which facilitated Duran’s journey to Paris, on the late Ottoman cultural and artistic world and will constitute an essential source material on the artist himself.

The art of Feyhaman Duran also bares all the work and developments concerning the late years of the Ottoman Empire and the changes that occurred with the coming of the Republic. The exhibition reveals how Duran left an empire tattering close to the abyss to the center of the global art Paris and finding himself in the midst of an enormous transformation when he came back home and how each of these life altering developments affected his art. It also tries to reveal how the transformation of the Ottoman Empire into the Republic shaped the history of painting of the era. Duran, throughout his life, articulated his perception and synthesis of East and the West through his art. The artist, who is renowned for his portraits due to the demand for the style in the formative period of the Turkish Republic, was also equally proficient and productive in styles such as still-lifes and landscapes.

In this respect, in addition to Duran’s portraits, his first nudes with models during his education in Paris, landscapes from different regions, and still-lifes using Ottoman calligraphy plaques as objects are used in this exhibition to show to the public an alternative side to this very talented artist.

“Feyhaman Duran. Between Two Worlds,” which will present one of the leading artists of Turkish art history, will begin on January 12 and will allow visitors to take a glimpse at this artist’s many achievements until July 30.


Press Release