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  Yahia  (1903 - 1969)

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Lived/Active: Tunisia      Known for: painting

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
La Mosquée à Tunis
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Yahia Turki, (يحيى التركي‎), born Yahia Ben Mahmoud El Hajjem in 1903 in Istanbul, Turkey, died March 1, 1969.  He was a Tunisian painter described as the "father of Tunisian painting".

Born in Istanbul to a Turkish mother and a Djerbian father, Turki studied first at Sadiki College and later at the Lycée Carnot de Tunis.  At the same time, he attended a Koranic school, where his interest was piqued, for the first time, by the arrangement of form and colour on writing tablets.  He pursued his secondary school studies at the Lycée Alaoui, where he had as a drawing teacher Georges Le Mare, who discovered the talents of the young novice and where he applied himself to learning the basics of the discipline.  Faced with family pressures, Turki abandoned his studies and joined the civil service. He also received academic training at the Centre for art studies, which in 1930 became the Tunisian College of Fine Arts.

Turki experienced his first success in 1923 at the Tunisian salon.  He later obtained a scholarship and went to Paris in 1927, where he kept company with Albert Marquet and Lucien Mainssieux.  In 1928, he stayed in France and took part in the Colonial Exhibition of French artists and the Salon des Indépendents.

On his return to Tunis in 1935, he exhibited a series of works with Parisian themes.  A member of the "Group of Ten", in 1956 he succeeded Pierre Boucherle as the president of the Tunisian School, a post he occupied until his death.  He also became the vice-president of the Tunisian salon.


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