From Reformation to Republic: Master Artists, Artist Students

New exhibition by Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM) titled From Reformation to Republic: Master Artists, Artist Students will welcome visitors on June 1.

The exhibition presents the historical journey of the art of painting in Turkey and features a total of 115 artworks from the SSM Painting Collection, by artists including Hoca Ali Rıza, Halife Abdülmecid Efendi, Hüseyin Zekâi Paşa, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, Şevket Dağ, Hikmet Onat, Hüseyin Avni Lifij, İbrahim Çallı, Nazmi Ziya Güran and also the pioneering woman artist Mihri (Müşfik) Hanım.

Focusing on the relationship between masters and their apprentices, the exhibition makes visible the interaction and change between generations. Artwork by the masters and their apprentices, who acquired mastership by following in their masters’ footsteps, will be displayed side-by-side. The exhibition From Reformation to Republic: Master Artists, Artist Students allows us to trace the social and economic transformation of the country, via the late-discovered but quickly adopted medium of painting.

The selection of artworks, displayed in chronological order, starts with paintings by artists belonging to the generation of Osman Hamdi Bey and Halil Bey, all of whom were sent abroad for art education, mainly to France, and who attended the studios of eminent artists like Jean-Leon Gerôome and Gustave Boulanger in Paris. The exhibition features landscapes and still lifes by these artists, as well as portraits emerging from their interest in figures and figurative depictions. The portraits of women in the selection reflect the evolution of female visibility in Ottoman society, starting during the Reformation Period.

The exhibition tells the story of Istanbul via paintings by İbrahim Çallı, Nazmi Ziya, Avni Lifij, Feyhaman Duran, Namık İsmail and Hikmet Onat, the so-called “1914 Generation,” who had depicted the city with a focus on its streets, houses, historical sites, coastline and the Bosphorus, but at the same time telling the story of Turkey, a country undergoing profound changes. At this part of the exhibition, you will also find the Galatasaray Exhibitions; the primary event organized by artists from the 1914 Generation, introducing the artistic developments of the period.

Artwork created by Turkey’s painters with a focus on the nude, an artistic theme they had encountered abroad, especially during their academic training in Paris, is presented as to reflect this process. It is a process from Halil Paşa’s figurative studies, reflecting academic discipline, to İbrahim Çallı’s sensuous nudes, painted with expressive sensitivity. Examples of the whole process are to be found in the exhibition, heralding a radical shift in attitude.

The first artistic group of the Republic, called the Müstakiller (Independents), are represented in their full capacity, reflecting their fundamental importance in Turkish modern art history. The Independents were trained at the Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi (School of Fine Arts), at studios of such masters like İbrahim Çallı, Feyhaman Duran, Hikmet Onat who had been appointed to replace the foreign professors.

The exhibition From Reformation to Republic: Master Artists, Artist Students can be visited every day except Sundays and Mondays between 10.00 and 18.00. 

The multiple entry tickets for students that will be valid for one year after their first visit to the exhibition are available on

Sakıp Sabancı Museum holds a Safe Tourism Certificate from Turkey’s Tourism Promotion and Development Agency. Please find about our hygiene and safety measures for visitors at the web site of the museum.