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The Dazzling Princess

Famous for her prolific large-scale abstract compositions and captivating life story, the ‘painter princess’ of Turkish modern art recieves a long overdue tribute

  • A 1944 self-portrait by the remarkable Fahrelnissa Zeid, who married a prince and lived through two world wars, an uprising and assassinations
  • 'Resolved Problems' 1948
  • Zeid in Paris in the 1960s.

There is about the art of Fahrelnissa Zeid a sense of irrepressible strength and blind devotion in the face of loss, illness, exile and struggle. “You must have a story to tell, a song to sing,” her biographer, Adili Laidi-Hanieh, reports the artist proclaiming, “otherwise you will only be a painter, not a creator.” And Zeid certainly had a story to tell. Now, after many years of relative obscurity, both her life journey and her extraordinarily versatile work are reaching a wider audience as a retrospective at Tate Modern in London moves to Berlin.

Zeid was born Fahrelnissa Şakir Kabaağaçlı, in 1901, on Büyükada, largest of the Princes Islands, to an Ottoman diplomat, Şakir Pasha, and his Cretan wife, İsmet Hanım. She grew up in a home filled with books and objets d’art, exposed to myriad cultural influences, but her privileged existence descended into tragedy when she was 13, with the fatal shooting of her father by her brother Cevat.

To read the full article, purchase Issue 56

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Issue 56, October 2017 Brave Old World
£12.00 / $15.25 / €14.01
Other Highlights from Cornucopia 56
  • A Life in Tents

    Peter Alford Andrews and his late wife, Mügül, set out to catalogue the traditional yurt – the ultimate portable dwelling. It became their life’s work.

  • Good Vibrations

    An exciting new spirit of creativity is flourishing in Yeldeğirmeni – once a place of windmills and construction workers. But will this vibrant neighbourhood of Kadiköy be able to maintain its delicate balance of old and new? Katie Nadworny reports. Photographs by Monica Fritz

  • The City of a Thousand and One Churches

    Today a ghost town in the middle of nowhere, a thousand years ago Ani was a bustling commercial city where East and West converged. By Robert Ousterhout. Photographs by Brian McKee

  • Aphrodite’s City

    No wonder Aphrodisias was the Emperor Augustus’s favourite city in Asia. Famed for its exquisite sculpture and unsullied surroundings, for Patricia Daunt it is the most beautiful site in the classical world

  • Jam Tomorrow

    In a chilly spring the apricot trees of Cappadocia were frothing with white blossom. By early summer the boughs would be heavy with fruit, to be eaten fresh from the branch, dried in the sun – or made into conserves like bottled sunshine for the cold winter months.

  • Turkey’s Wine Renaissance

    After a road trip like no other, taking in many of the best of Turkey’s burgeoning wineries, Kevin Gould and the Cornucopia tasting panel raise a glass (or several) and recommend the best of an impressive bunch

Buy the issue
Issue 56, October 2017 Brave Old World
£12.00 / $15.25 / 491.58 TL
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