Ali Avni Çelebi

Who is Ali Avni Çelebi? (1904-1993)

He was born in Istanbul in 1904. Ali Avni Çelebi’s talent for painting was noticed by his family and close circle. With his father’s encouragement, he entered Sanayi-i Nefise in 1918 and became a student of Hikmet Onat and İbrahim Çallı. He went abroad in 1922 and studied under Hans Hoffman in Munich.

The political change and economic crisis that broke out in Germany caused Hoffman to decide to settle in America and Çelebi to return home again. When they returned to Turkey in 1927 with Zeki Kocamemi, with whom he studied abroad, they founded the Independent Painters and Sculptors Union. The Union organized its first exhibition with the works of its member painters on July 15, 1929, at the Ankara Ethnography Museum, and its second exhibition at the Istanbul Turkish Hearth Hall in the same year. In those years, Ali Avni Çelebi prepared his works such as The Masked Ball, The Woman Resting in the Countryside, The Pedicurist, The Barber. The Independent Painters and Sculptors Union will carry the progressive artistic spirit of the newly established Republic with its dynamic artists. Çelebi worked as a lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Letters of Istanbul University between 1932 and 1938, and in 1938 he became Leopold Levy’s assistant. Çelebi received the first prize at the 6th State Exhibition, which he attended as a member of Independents in 1944. In 1956, the artist was appointed head of the workshop bearing his name at the Academy. Çelebi went to Munich for a one-month study trip in 1962 and won first place in the Tehran biennial in 1966. Ali Avni Çelebi, who retired from his job at the Academy in 1967, opened his second personal exhibition in Istanbul after a long break in 1975.

Like his friends, the young man embraces the qualities appropriate to the progressive and contemporary spirit of the Republic of Turkey.

He worked as Leopold Levy's assistant in 1938 and continued as a workshop instructor until his retirement in 1967. He died in Istanbul in 1993.

1991: Title of State Artist of the Republic of Türkiye

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