New Exhibition: Prince’s Extraordinary World. Abdülmecid Efendi
20 December 2021
The Prince Abdülmecid Efendi, who had a lasting effect on the Ottoman art world, is on view at SSM with a selection of artworks, most of which are together on view for the first time.
Under the sponsorship of Sabancı Holding, Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum hosts the “Prince’s Extraordinary World: Abdülmecid Efendi” exhibition on the life and art of Abdülmecid Efendi, who had a lasting effect on Turkish art history. Apart from his patronage to many artists and institutions, he was an accomplished painter who was also interested in calligraphy, music and literature. The exhibition is open to all art lovers between 21 December 2021 – 1 May 2022.
“Prince’s Extraordinary World: Abdülmecid Efendi” comprises artworks from SSM’s collection, 14 official institution collections, 17 family collections, private museum and gallery collections, together with the works that arrived from France, where the Caliph spent his last 20 years, with the support and cooperation of the Institut Français Turkey and the French Consulate in Istanbul. The exhibition collection consists of 60 paintings and more than 300 documents, along with a self-portrait, dated 1926, from the Musée Massena Collection in Nice and 2 original framed paintings taken from the Pierre Loti Museum House in Rochefort and gifted to Loti by Abdülmecid Efendi.
The exhibition offers a comprehensive perspective on Abdülmecid Efendi's art. The “Abdülmecid Efendi Beyond Vision” section presents the SSM collection’s six Abdülmecid Efendi paintings, which were, for the first time ever, subject to a scientific research study. The study carried out in collaboration with Sabancı University, Koç University and Istanbul University Faculty of Forestry, illuminates Abdülmecid Efendi's painting technique, the restoration in his works; the structure, colour, paint layers and texture of the materials he used, and his artistic production conditions.
“We believe in the inclusive and unifying power of art. We believe in the hope it spreads.”
On his opening speech for the exhibition, Sabancı Holding CEO Cenk Alper said, “As the Sabancı Group, we remain a pioneer and set a model not only in economic terms; but also in culture, art and education, the essential areas
for social development. In all circumstances, we believe in the inclusive, unifying and inspiring power of art. We believe in the hope it spreads. And this is exactly why, art remains our most significant, established value. Our group’s desire to convey our country’s values to a broader audience is maintained today with yet another master, with our support to the Abdülmecid Efendi exhibition. I would like to thank Sakıp Sabancı Museum for making this encounter a reality, and congratulate our museum, which will turn 20 in 2022, for enhancing our world with art and contributing to our country’s art scene.”
“We commemorate Abdülmecid Efendi with a selection of artworks, most of which will be seen for the first time”
Nazan Ölçer, The Director of Sabancı Museum, said; “We are happy that the Sakıp Sabancı Museum will host such an extraordinary artist, a versatile Prince. Abdülmecid Efendi, Sultan Abdülaziz’s first son born during his reign, experienced the tragic death of his father at a very early age and could never disremember it. He spent about fifty years of his life as a prince, four years as a crown prince, about sixteen months as a caliph, and the last twenty years in exile. In his seventy-six years of life, he witnessed three regimes: absolute monarchy, constitutional monarchy and the republic, and endured two world wars. Abdülmecid Efendi, the last heir and the last caliph of the Ottoman Empire, and the first and only caliph elected by the Turkish Grand National Assembly, personally witnessed the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Undoubtedly, he is one of the those most affected by the military and political affairs; yet still, we see that he was always a benevolent father and grandfather. Along with his painter identity, he was interested in music and calligraphy. With his support to the intellectuals and artists, with whom he maintained close friendships; he was extraordinary for the Ottoman dynasty ever since his princedom. Conscious of the spirit of his time and the tensions between East-West and tradition-modernity, he lived his life as an Ottoman intellectual who was open to the West while staying true to his religion and tradition. Abdülmecid Efendi, who became a modern prince, combining East and West witin his person; is commemorated in our exhibition with a selection of artworks, most of which will be seen for the first time.
In our exhibition, we will look at Prince’s relationship with literature and music, as well as his close friendships with the intellectuals and artists of the period, along with his painting. For the first time, we will see his three Fog paintings side by side, inspired by Tevfik Fikret's poem. We will explore Abdülmecid Efendi with more than 300 documents, including the landscape paintings he gifted to his close friend Pierre Loti; his letters, family photos, some of which remained unknown, and many menus, including the invitation card given by his close friend Abdülhak Hamit for the premiere of his play, Finten. Throughout the exhibition, our visitors will be accompanied by musical compositions by his father, Sultan Abdülaziz, who also established the first comprehensive painting collection of the palace. We invite all art lovers to our museum to get to know the extraordinary Prince better.”
“Prince’s Extraordinary World: Abdülmecid Efendi” exhibition is on view at the SSM’s Gallery on -2 between 10:00 – 18:00 except for Mondays and 10:00 – 20:00 on Saturdays; until Sunday, 1 May 2022.