Mehmet Ruhi Arel

Mehmet Ruhi Arel (1880-1931)

He is one of the 1914 generation painters and the 4th generation Soldier Painters. He is one of the founders of the Ottoman Painters Society.
He was born in Galata, Istanbul in 1880. His father is Halil İlhami Efendi from Galata and his grandfather is Kadiri Sheikh Hacı Ali Baba from Diyarbakır. After finishing primary school, he entered the Naval Academy.
He graduated from Mekteb-i Bahriye-i Şahane in 1900. In 1909, he passed the exam held at Sanayi-i Nefise to send students to Europe and gained the right to go to Paris to study painting. He studied under Fernand Cormon at the National High School of Fine Arts in Paris for five years. When World War I started in 1914, Mehmet Ruhi Bey returned to Turkey like his friends.
He continued his artistic life as a lecturer at the Academy. After a while, he left his job because he did not see the art education at the Academy as suitable for the current times. He worked as an art teacher at Darüleytam, Kabataş, Namık Kemal, Kız Muallim schools and Bahriye.
He was the founder of the Ottoman Painters Society. He played the violin and spoke fluent English and French. He attended the painting workshop opened by Enver Pasha in Istanbul at the end of World War I, together with Sami Yetik, Ali Cemal Ben’im, Ali Sami Boyar, Namık İsmail, Hikmet Cevat and İbrahim Çallı, and produced paintings that reflected the effects of the war.
Ruhi Arel died in Istanbul on October 14, 1931, at the age of 51. He was buried in Kasımpaşa Kulaksız Family Cemetery.

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