Editor: Nilüfer Şaşmazer
Authors: Ayşenur Güler, Vita Susak
Translation: Yiğit Adam, Beyza Altay, Ali Berktay, Serra Yentürk
Design: Esen Karol
Category: Art History, Painting, Avantgarde
Dimensions: 23,5 x 29 cm
Page number: 328
Edition: First, February 2020
Publisher: Vehbi Koç Foundation
Alexis Gritchenko (1883–1977) was part of the modern art scene and exhibited with avant-garde artists including Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, Vladimir Tatlin and many others. Gritchenko was also an art critic and published articles and books, delivered public lectures, and taught in an art school. He decided to escape the civil war which followed the Russian Revolution of 1917. Leaving Moscow, he arrived in Istanbul in November 1919. Although the two years Gritchenko spent in Istanbul coincided with the occupation of the city, the Ottoman capital provided the artist with a relatively safe refuge until he left in 1921. On his arrival, he was instantly attracted by the colors and dynamism of Istanbul. He recorded his impressions of the vibrant ports, markets, sacred spaces, and majestic monuments while wandering through the streets, with a/his notepad, pen and brush in hand. Looking at his vast corpus of works on Istanbul, one can retrace the cultural and social imprint of those turbulent years through the eyes of a visitor.
Now, a century after Gritchenko’s visit to Istanbul, a great part of the works the artist created in the city, a collection of watercolors, gouaches, sketches, and oil paintings have been compiled into the book Alexis Gritchenko: The Constantinople Years. More than 150 works have been included in the publication alongside articles by art historians Vita Susak and Ayşenur Güler, detailing the artist’s life and technique, as well as the connections and friendships he formed during his stay in Istanbul, including those between him, İbrahim Çallı, and Namık İsmail.
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