Fikret Muallâ was born in Istanbul and after graduating from Saint Joseph's French College continued his studies at the Royal School (Galatasaray High School). Before graduating his family sent him to Germany to study engineering. There his interest in art increased, and he travelled to France, Italy and Switzerland to visit museums and also began to paint. In 1930 he returned to Turkey. In 1934 he was appointed art teacher at a school in Ayvalık. As well as painting pictures he designed costumes for operettas in Istanbul such as Lüküs Hayat, Deli Dolu and Saz Caz. He illustrated Nazım Hkmet's book Varan 3. In 1939 he painted Istanbul landscapes for the Turkish Pavilion at the New York World Exposition. These pictures included landscapes of Eyüp, Çamlıca, Moda, Üsküdar and other districts of the city. The same year he settled in France, where he remained for the rest of his life.