9/17/2014 - 12/28/2014
Üsküdarlı Hoca Ali Rıza
Arkas Arts Centre
A painter well ahead of his time
A joint Arkas-Yapı Kredi Culture Arts Publishing project, the Hoca Ali Rıza exhibition held at the Izmir Arkas Arts Centre showcased paintings, drawings and sketches from a number of collections: Arkas, Yapı Kredi, family, other leading institutions and private collections.
Two of the finest pieces in the exhibition were the ‘Bosphorus from the Çubuklu Hills’ (Arkas collection) and ‘Breaking of the Fast Table’ (Yapı Kredi collection); the first is probably one of the most striking Bosphorus landscapes done to date, and the second is frequently referred to as a masterpiece. This latter piece has the added distinction of being one of the rare still lifes he’s ever painted, and certainly is the largest.
Despite a number of contact attempts by leading universities, Hoca Ali Rıza’s (1858-1930) plans to study painting in Italy were thwarted by a cholera outbreak in Naples. Turkish art historians refer to him as "Üsküdarlı" (from Üsküdar) Hoca Ali Rıza and liken him to the French painters Corot and Courbet, two of his contemporaries. He was the first Turkish painter to observe nature and reflect his love of nature in lines and colours. According to the Ottoman Painters’ Society Newsletter, he expressed his views on painting as, ‘The art of painting that civilised nations hold in such high regard is beneficial on several counts. It enables the revelation of imagination, and is like a lucid new language, a type of writing that is legible to all human societies.’ This prolific artist, adept at pencil drawing and watercolours, was remarkably quick too, the extent that he has created some five thousand Istanbul landscapes in total.