Abidin Dino was a multidimensional cultural figure who lived through the major upheavals of the twentieth century, including two world wars, social revolutions, and the fall of empires, and who recorded all of these events in words, lines, colors, and shapes. Born in 1913 in Istanbul to art-loving parents, Dino spent his childhood in Geneva and Paris. He studied in French but received no formal training in the fine arts. Dino was not just a painter and writer but also an illustrator, cartoonist, ceramicist, sculptor, and filmmaker, pursuing a productive career in the arts. An expanded version of this chronology was initially published in the catalog of the Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM) exhibition The World of Abidin Dino in 2007.
Hale Asaf was a Turkish painter of Georgian and Circassian ancestry. She was the niece of Mihri Müşfik Hanım, Turkey's first female artist. She was also the sole female member amongst the founders of the Independent Painters and Sculptors Union, the first artists' society in the Republican Era in Turkey.
Throughout her entire artistic life, Hale Asaf exhibited an inquisitive spirit. She began with a constructivist design sense, which she combined with an expressionist viewpoint established during her time in Germany. She did not resort to previous patterns during her studies in Istanbul, in paintings created with quick, crisp brushstrokes, and in her open-air studies.
During the Paris years, in the beginning, the artist studied and experimented with Late Cubism; she created a synthesis integrating what she had learned since the age of 14 with Art Deco's twisted lines, and she developed a totally her own creative taste. Hale Asaf gained praise for her distinct style in the Paris shows in which she took part.
Nurullah Berk was one of the earliest painters of the Republican generation, as well as one of the founders of the D Group whose members followed a Cubist Constructivist style of painting in opposition to Impressionism that was still popular in the 1920s. Berk worked in a similar genre in the 1930s, influenced by Picasso and Braque's Cubist paintings, utilizing items such as tables, bottles, and playing cards as his themes. By the 1950s, his work had been significantly influenced by Fernand Léger and André Lhote, and he was focusing on local themes like a lady ironing, a guy smoking a hookah, and a potter forming a jug on a wheel.
Berk also liked a colorful style, and in later years, he gave a new viewpoint to the 'oriental odalisque' art type, which had existed since the time of Ingres. Berk incorporated ornamental elements (arabesques) that bore the mark of the oriental miniature tradition in his paintings that depict naked, sleeping ladies with all of the sexual emotions that they arouse. He aimed to establish another synthesis between Eastern and Western art with his paintings of solid-color groupings over a mathematical foundation.
Fahrelnissa Zeid was one of the first female students at Istanbul's Academy of Fine Arts in 1920. In 1928, she moved to Paris to study at the Académie Ranson.
She went around Europe with her first husband, author Izzet Melih Devrim, learning about European modern art trends. In 1934, she married Iraqi diplomat Prince Zeid bin Hussein, which led to considerable travel across Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. As a result, it's not unexpected that Zeid's work incorporates elements of Byzantine iconography and Sufism, as well as Western Fauvism and Cubism.
Although she is most known for her abstract paintings, Zeid also painted portraits and ordinary situations. She joined the D-Group in Istanbul in 1942 and exhibited with them. She had her first solo display in Istanbul two years later and subsequently showed her work in London and Paris. Her big break came in 1950 when she had her first solo show in New York at the Hugo Gallery, where she showed a series of huge abstractions. In 1975, Zeid relocated to Amman, Jordan, where she created the Fahrelnissa Zeid Institute of Fine Arts and taught at the Royal Art Institute.