Cem (Cemil)


09 Nisan, 1950
Faculty of Law
Diğer İsimler
Cemil Cem

Caricaturist (Born 1882, Istanbul – Death 9 April 1950, Istanbul).He is the son of Dr. Cemal Pasha and his full name is Cemil Cem. He graduated from Mekteb-i Sultani (Galatasaray High School) and started his higher education in the faculty of law. Meanwhile he entered the Foreign Ministry as an officer. Upon completing his higher education in 1903 he was assigned in France. He continued his duty in various towns of France. Meanwhile he received political science education in Paris. Cem who was interested in painting and caricatures realized in Paris that caricature was an art. Under influence of French caricaturist he started drawing. His caricatures drew attention and were published in humor magazines. But in this period he remained as a caricaturist who drew only for himself and for his friends.

Painting restriction introduced by Abdülhamid II was removed with the declaration of the 2nd Constitutional Period. Cemil Cem started to send his caricatures to Kalem which was one of the first important humor magazines of Turkey in 1908. His caricatures were not only based on lines but subtitles also were important. Under this aspect, Cem’s works were different from what has been done until that time. Thinking that he could not follow the political developments in his country from Europe, Cem resigned from his duty in 1910 and returned to Istanbul. The same year he started to publish the famous humor magazine Cem.

His only business now was caricature. In the first issue of the magazine he wrote an introduction under the title "A few words" in which he emphasized that caricature as a figure of speech was based on literature and also to drawing; and that caricature could not come into being without having an irony and a competent drawing. In his portrait-caricatures of statesmen he reflected the most decisive characteristics of their personalities or appearances skillfully. Cem aside from his caricatures in the magazine also wrote articles under alias. In this magazine also Refik Halit’s articles were published under the alias of “Kirpi-i Natüvan” (Exhausted Hedgehog). When news of defeat started to come from the front during the 2nd Balkan War, Cem closed the magazine in 1912 and went to Europe. He was in Europe during the years of Turkish Independence War.

During the war he returned to the country and worked as a director in Is­tanbul Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi (Mimar Sinan University). He started to publish his magazine Cem in 1927 again. Due to one of his caricatures which criticized excessive taxes he was put on trial and condemned to one year imprisonment but was later acquitted. Because of another caricature which was about one of the current ministers Recep Peker his magazine was closed in 1928 and he was banned to publish caricatures. After being a member of municipal assembly for a while he retreat himself and spent his whole time to paint.

Cemil Cem’s caricatures usually were about the current political life such as Abdülhamid II rule, attitudes of Party of Union and Progress and Party of Agreement. The realism and irony in his lines affected many other caricaturists after him. He was known with his competence in subtitles more than his portrait-caricatures and lines; so he was known as "Master Cem". His realist approach was encountered with reaction by political structures of every period. He has an album titled Cem (1909) which consists of twenty caricatures of Abdülhamid II published in Kalem magazine. Besides other books of research and reviews were published about Cem which included his caricatures. 

Sample 1

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