Aliye Berger

Gravür Sanatçısı, Ressam

09 Ağustos, 1974

Painter and Engraving Artist. (B. 1903, Büyükada / Istanbul – D. August 1974, Büyükada). She made her name famous to environments of arts for the first time with her oil painting which granted her the first place in the competition organized by Yapı Kredi Bank in 1954. She came from a family of artists. She is the daughter of photography artist Şakir Pasha, the sister of author and translator “Halikarnas Balıkçısı” (Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı) and painter Fahrünnisa Zeyd and the aunt of ceramicist Füreya Koral and painter Nejat Devrim.

She was educated in the French schools in Istanbul. When her school closed in the years of the 1st World War she started to take lectures of figure in her free times. Aside from her painting lessons she also took private piano lessons. She took music lessons from Karl Berger, the Hungarian violin master and pedagogue who was in Turkey in 1924 stayed with her sister Fahrünnisa Zeyd between 1935 and 1939 in Berlin and Paris. Here she followed artistic movements. Between 1947 and 50 she made engraving works in the workshop of J. B. Wright.

She lived with her music teacher Karl Berger for a long time before getting married. Her desire to live according to her heart and not according to rules created problems at that time and she was criticized by her family members. But her brave personality and her attaching importance to her own desires rather than people’s opinions would also be observed at her following years in her artistic career. Her relation of twenty-three years with Karl Berger could only be official six-seven months before Berger’s death. After numerous incidents she could convince Karl Berger to marry her and they married in 1947.  

Aliye Berger who studied philosophy with her husband, was interested in house decorations and tailored clothes for her husband attempted to return to life after his death with engravings. The depression she fell into after Karl’s death was the reason for her sister Fahrünissa to take her to Europe. She started to take sculpture lessons and later engraving lessons in Europe. She worked for three years in the workshop of John Buckland Wright in London. Carvings, insculptures, black-white colorings were more appropriate for her sad situation than colorful oil paintings or sculptures.

She opened her first exhibition in 1951 upon returning to Turkey. In the competition organized by Yapı Kredi Bank due to the Congress of the Association of International Critics of Art (AICA) in 1954 in Istanbul, she received the first prize with her painting titled “Güneş” and one year later the second prize in Tahran Biennale.

Although Aliye Berger made drawings and oil paintings and produced more works in engraving technique working with semitones of black and white, she is primarily known with her expressionist engravings. Between 1951 and 54 she produced celebration cards with a panorama of Istanbul to introduce her technique. The artist who used tools such as glass paper, butcher paper and cheesecloth reflected the patterns of daily life and various edges of Istanbul with an original lyricism and expressionism, sometimes in a realistic way and other times in a fantastic way.

Aliye Berger who lent numerous works to Turkish painting passed away in 1974 in Büyükada where she was born and raised and she deeply loved. The painter and engraving artist said “I lived with love. Even deaths could not kill the love in me. I created with enthusiasm, love and affection whatever I created. I cannot call my works my children. Things I did became exactly what I lived ”. In her 100th birthday she was remembered with a commemoration. 

A gravure by Aliye Berger



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