PAINTER SABİHA RÜŞTÜ BOZCALI

SALT

“You are talented in the field of our art, Sabiha. You possess sensitivity, and are fully committed to the formidable challenge required by this noble profession. You have every opportunity to become successful. The success you have achieved, which you deserve, should give you courage.” Paul Signac, 01.06.1933

Bozcalı was born into a privileged diplomatic family; her father an Admiral and her two grandfathers serving as the Minister of the Interior and Minister of the Navy respectively. She began painting at the age of five with her mother’s encouragement and was first tutored by Ali Sami Boyar, a painter and museum director.
"I grew up in a house with a large garden full of trees, where magnolias and weaver’s brooms bloomed… I had a six-by-seven meters studio in the annex in the garden of the waterside mansion. Here we would gather with friends including Çallı and İhap Hulusi." Ayşe Özberki, "The Incredible Journey of Sabiha Bozcalı from De Chirico to Koçu", Milliyet Eki, 13.03.1984
From the journal of 1941: "On the 12th of the month we moved from Kireç to the Efi Apartment on Mis Street. God willing we will live comfortably here."
Painter Sabiha Rüştü Bozcalı (1904-98), one of the first female illustrators in Turkey, worked in the studios of Lovis Corinth, Moritz Heymann, Karl Caspar, Paul Signac, Giorgio de Chirico and Namık İsmail in Berlin, Munich, Paris, Rome and Istanbul respectively from the age of 15.
"[...] my family sent me to Berlin to study painting, I worked for 2 years at the studio of the renowned German painter Lovis Corinth and then returned to Istanbul. [...] In 1922, my family once again sent me abroad, this time to Munich, there I studied at the studio of Moritz Heymann for 1 year to prepare for the entrance examination of the Fine Arts Academy, and eventually after passing the exam I studied for 2 years in the Academy, at the studio of Professor Karl Caspar, and then returned to Istanbul." Extract from the resume in Bozcalı’s own handwriting
She attended the studio of Namık İsmail at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul between 1928-1929.
"In my opinion, drawing is the foundation of painting. Drawing, always drawing... It is impossible to paint without understanding black and white!" Zahir Güvemli, “Interview with Painter Sabiha Rüştü Bozcalı", source unknown, 1948
"Paul Signac’s studio used to be a center of attention on Sundays. The great painters of France would gather there and talk about art. I used to lose myself in thought as I listened to the words of great men. Those were some of my most beautiful days. For two summers, I was a guest at Signac’s small house with a garden in Barfleur, where I visited upon the invitation of the Signac family. During the day Signac and I used to paint at different places, and in the evening we used to return and unite with sketches under our arms." “Painter Sabiha Rüştü Bozcalı", Çınaraltı, Issue 131, 10.06.1944
Between 1938-1943, during the early years of the Republic, Bozcalı took part in the government program "Yurt Gezileri" [Trips to Homeland], organized by Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi [People's Republican Party] and Halkevleri [People's Centers]. The aim of this program was to document the process of modernization and the creation and implementation of a new cultural identity across Turkey. In this scheme Bozcalı was officially sent to Zonguldak in 1939 to paint aspects of industrial development.
"Landscapes and other works she has produced during her travels in Europe: Italian coasts, Alsace, the French countryside and especially Barfleur, the place where she spent the summer with Signac’s family; and also a series produced with freer brush strokes that provides proof of her maturity, and concerns us more closely: Istanbul landscapes painted with love, mosques, türbes, the streets of Beyoğlu and especially Kireçburnu, the neighborhood where her family house is located. Highly expressive and vivid portraits one cannot take one’s eyes off, and a few still lifes complete the exhibition. These works, which form a harmonious whole, provide us with proof that Sabiha Rüştü Bozcalı can paint any subject matter, and that she will always achieve success thanks to her sincerity and austerity." J.D. Manasse, “Sabiha Bozcalı’s Solo Exhibition", source unknown, 1946
"In 1947, my uncle Mahmud Nedim Oyvar sent me to Rome. I worked at the studio of the renowned Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico for three years. During that time I made a reproduction of Raphael’s Transfiguration at the Vatican’s painting gallery. I also produced copies from Titian and Lorenzo Lotto at the Villa Borghese Museum. I was commissioned to paint four portraits." Extract from the resume in Bozcalı’s own handwriting
Between 1960 and 1961 the trials of the members of the former ruling party, Demokrat Parti, after the military coup of 1960 were held in Yassıada. Yassıada was one of the Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara, to the southeast of Istanbul. Sabiha Rüştü Bozcalı illustrated the trials.
"A short while after returning to Istanbul in 1949 as a genuinely mature artist, just as Ali Naci Karacan was founding the new Milliyet Newspaper, she became the illustrator of this newspaper with a reference provided by Refi Cevad Ulunay, the husband of her maternal aunt." Reşad Ekrem Koçu, “BOZCALI (Sabiha)”, Istanbul Encyclopedia, 1963, Vol. 6, 3058
"For this work, which is the product of my life, my sister, the great and valuable artist Ms. Sabiha Bozcalı, has expended at least as much labor as my own craft. With gratitude and appreciation." Reşad Ekrem Koçu, "Istanbul Encyclopedia, 1965, Vol. 7, page of dedication
Bozcalı, Yapı Kredi Bankası’nın reklam müdürü Memduh Moran’ın, Kazım Taşkent’in teşvikiyle 1952’de kurduğu Moran Reklam Ajansı için çalıştı. 
Credits: Story

Prepared by SALT Research based on the exhibition "Painter Sabiha Rüştü Bozcalı" on view at SALT Galata between 22.12.2015 and 28.02.2016.

Courtesy of Tlabar Family and Istanbul Şehir University.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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