Born in 1901, at the dawn of the 20th century, when Impressionism was already a quarter of a century old, Abidin Elderoğlu was one of the masters of abstraction in Turkey, winning awards at the Sao Paulo Biennial in 1963, the Tehran Biennial in 1966 and the Cagnes-sur-Mer Biennial in France in 1972. “Plastic musicality” was the leitmotif of his work, as set out in an influential manifesto, Sanatım (My Art), published shortly before his death in 1974.
Brought up in the West Anatolian town of Denizli, the young Abidin continued his studies in Izmir and Istanbul, graduating from teacher training college in 1926. From an early age, painting was his passion. In 1930, he won a state scholarship to Paris to study art at the Académie des Beaux-Arts and enrolled at the Académie Julian under Paul Albert Laurens, best known for his portrait of André Gide, and at the Cubist painter André Lhote’s school in Montparnasse, where illustrious students would include the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. Upon his return to Turkey in 1932, he took up a position at a teacher training school in Izmir and teaching and painting became something of a “double life.” Solo exhibitions in Madrid, Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Venice, and Milan soon followed.
This handsome volume describes the life and work of Abidin Elderoğlu against the backdrop of developments in Western art and examines the influence of Impressionism and abstraction on Turkish painting. Illustrated with more than 600 of Elderoğlu’s paintings and drawings, it is the most comprehensive publication on the artist to date and a revelation for anyone interested in unearthing treasures along the lesser-known byways of 20th-century art.
Text: Ahmet Kamil Gören
Book Editor: Çiçek Öztek
Visual Editor: Oğuz Sağdıç
Translators: Çiçek Öztek, Feride Eralp, İdil Sağdıç
English Copy-editing: Matt Hanson
Proofreading: Zeynep Yazıcı
2018, Istanbul, Dirimart
592 pages | Four Color, Illustrated, Hardcover