Füreya Koral

Seramik Sanatçısı

02 Haziran, 1910
25 Ağustos, 1997
Notre Dame de Sion High School

Ceramic artist (B. 2nd June 1910, Istanbul - D. 25th August 1997, Istanbul). She was from the famous Şakir Pasha family. The painter Fahrelnisa Zeid was her aunt and the writer Halikarnas Balıkçısı (Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı) was her uncle. She was also the niece of the gravure artist Aliye Berger from the same family. She finished the Notre Dame de Sion High School (1927). She attended the Department of Philosophy of the Faculty of Literature of the Istanbul University for a while. She received violin lessons from Charles Berger, who was the famous violin artist of the period and who would get married afterwards with the aunt of Füreya, Aliye Berger. She was interested in music and literature since her young ages. She wrote music critics and she made translations in the newspaper “Vatan” between the years of 1940-44.

Koral started to pay attention to ceramics with the suggestion of her aunt Fahrelnisa Zeid, who wanted to amuse her in the sanatorium in Switzerland where she was receiving a treatment of tuberculosis, and she continued her works in Paris. Then, she met Serre, who was the famous French ceramic artist of the period, in Paris. In the same period, she dealt with lithography. She presented her lithography works to the audience in her first personal exhibition held in Paris in the year of 1951. Traces from calligraphy and from Turkish handiwork art were seen in her works of that period. She returned to the homeland in the same year and she held an exhibition in the Maya Gallery. After that, she founded a ceramic atelier. In the year of 1956, she made researches in Mexico and the United States of America (USA) with the scholarship of Rockefeller. Her works were exhibited in Washington. After this journey, she turned towards ceramic works for walls. She made big-sized wallboards by being inspired by the traditional ceramic tile art other than decorative furniture. She continued her works in her own atelier after the year 1954.

The biggest characteristic of the works of Füreya Koral is that she used the clay, the principle material of ceramics, as an instrument in transmitting her original interpretation. She didn’t content with the potter clay. She created works with the “gre” clay that she found as a result of works in the oven adjusted to high degrees. This attitude of her was not common even in the Western world until the 1950s. The contemporary leadership of the artist was important in this sense. Füreya Koral, who opened our ceramic art to the world with her works, also brought the ceramic tile art to the Turkish architecture with a contemporary interpretation. She made works especially on wall ornaments, board and fireplace surfaces. She emphasized on the abstract expression styles of the Eastern art. In addition to abstract elements, she turned towards surrealistic and local characteristics occasionally and she carried the syntheses of Eastern and Western art styles to a successful combination. In the 1960s, she canalized to dark tones instead of the rich brilliant colors that she used in the 1950s. She sporadically placed light discolorations reminding of animal and plant motives onto these dark color areas. At the end of the 1960s, she canalized again to brilliant colors. The artist put forward works that could be used in the daily life such as ceramic panels, three dimension constructions, and many plastics in the shape of animals, vases and plates. In 1960, she made a big panel for a hotel in Ankara.

The panels that she made for the Ulus Market in Ankara and the Unkapanı Draper’s Market in 1963, for the Ziraat Bank in Istanbul in 1966, for the Istanbul Divan Hotel, the Istanbul Sheraton Hotel and the Faculty of Dentistry of the Ankara Hacettepe University in 1969 could be counted among the other works of Füreya Korel. In 1973, she made works that were convenient for the industry and she created dinner services. She started to use the “houses” as a topic in the end of the 1970s. She gave originality to these ceramics in the form of a cube by making holes on the top of them and by using different colors. She realized a series of arrangement on the subject of “Ceramic Houses: A Neighborhood” by bringing together some of the houses. She decorated her houses with birds, trees and fishes. At the end of the 1980s and in the beginning of the 1990s, she made figures of small people “hollow, empty head” from terra-cotta.

Koral held approximately forty exhibitions at home and abroad since 1951. Her works were exhibited in Salon d’Octobre in Paris, Modern Art Museum in Ciudad de Mexico, Napstkovo Muzeum in Prague, Smitshonian Institute in Washington and in galleries in various places in Turkey. She won a silver medal in the Cannes International Exhibition in 1955, a gold medal in the Prague International Exhibition in 1962, a silver medal in the Istanbul International Ceramics Exhibition in 1967. Besides, she won an award from the Washington Smithsonian Institute and a diploma of honor from the Vallauris Biennale in France. She was deemed worthy of the Ministry of Culture Award in 1981 and the Plastic Arts Award (together with Neşe Erdok) of the Sedat Simavi Foundation in 1986. Some of her works took part in the Resim Heykel Müzesi (T.N. State Art and Sculpture Museum).

The writer Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar told “She tried to carry the ceramic to other seasons starting from the beginning of her first experiences” for her. The novelist Ayşe Kulin wrote a novel named “Füreya” inspired from her life. Füreya Koral, who also played in a movie named “Gölge Oyunu”, made her second marriage with Kılıç Ali. Their worlds were very different with Kılıç Ali, who sent her to the sanatorium for treatment. The writer Altemur Kılıç was her step son. 

Sample of ceramic works


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