Fahrünnisa Zeyd

Who is Fahrünnisa Zeyd? (1901-1991)

Daughter of Kabaağaçlızade Mehmed Şakir Pasha, II. Fahrünnisa Zeyd, the niece of Cevat Pasha, one of the grand viziers of the reign of Abdulhamid and the sister of the Fisherman of Halicarnassus, took her surname after marrying Emir Zeyd, the brother of King Faisal I and the Iraqi ambassador of the period. In France, where she was known as an important painter in the modern style, she used the spelling “Fahrelnisa”.

Brother of writer Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı, known as “The Fisherman of Halicarnassus”, and engraving artist Aliye Berger; aunt of ceramic artist Füreya Koral; She is the mother of painter Nejat Devrim and theater actress Şirin Devrim.

The world-renowned painter is especially known for his large-scale abstract paintings and multicolored complex patterns. His paintings of gigantic sizes have an effect that demands dominance over the viewer’s attention. His works have been exhibited in many internationally renowned institutions. In 2017, the Tate Modern Museum of Art named Zeid “20th century”. She commemorated her with a retrospective in which she described her as “one of the most important female artists of the 21st century.”

He was born in Istanbul in 1901, in his family’s mansion on Büyükada. His father, statesman, soldier and historian Kabaağaçlızade Mehmed Şakir Pasha; His mother is Sare Hanım from Crete. She is the middle daughter of this family, which is known as the “Şakir Pasha family” and has raised many artists (siblings respectively: Cevat Şakir, Hakkiye, Ayşe Suad, Fahrelnisa and Aliye).

The artist, who started painting at the age of 14, was among the first female students of Sanay-i Nefise during the occupation years.
Her first marriage was with writer İzzet Melih Devrim in 1920, when she started Sanay-i Nefise. She had the opportunity to travel to European cities with her husband and meet writers and intellectuals. From this marriage, two children named Nejat and Şirin were born. He continued his painting studies at the Stalbach Workshop of the Ranson Academy in Paris and at the Namık İsmail Workshop of the Academy of Fine Arts in Turkey.
Her second marriage was in 1934 with Emir Zeyd, Iraq's Ankara representative and brother of Iraqi King Faisal I; From this marriage, a son named "Raad" was born. The artist, who left Turkey because of her diplomat husband's duty, continued her painting career in various cities in Europe. He opened his first personal exhibition in his own home in Istanbul in 1944. This first exhibition was followed by dozens of exhibitions in cities such as Paris, London, New York and Brussels.
After the death of his wife in 1970, he settled in Amman in 1976, where his son Raad lived. She founded an art institute named after her in this city. In his last period, he concentrated on portraits. He last exhibited his works in Istanbul in 1988 and in France and Germany in 1990.
She passed away on September 5, 1991. He was buried in the Al-Raghdan Palace Royal Cemetery in Amman.

Major Works
Towards a Storm
Portrait of the Turkish Ambassador in Amman
Abstract Composition
My Hell, (1950, Istanbul Modern)
Portrait of Aliye Berger
Snake Woman

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