Hale Asaf


Diğer İsimler
Hale Salih Asaf

Artist (B. 1905, Kadikoy / Istanbul - D. 1938, Montparnasse / Paris).  Her full name was Hale Salih Asaf. She was born in Dr. Rasim Pasha mansion around Baklatarlası. She was the daughter of a wealthy and a sophisticated family. She was the granddaughter of grand vizier Halil Hamit Pasha on her father's side and the granddaughter of Çerkez Mehmet Rasim Pasha from her mother's side. She was the favorite child of her mother Enise Hanım and her father Salih Bey partly due to her illnesses. She started to have English lessons at a very young age and learned Greek from the Greek servant at home. In 1910, the ten cists in her liver were removed by a surgery performed by the famous physician Kamburoğlu. Her childhood passed between Istanbul and Büyükada. She attended to Notre Dame de Sion for her secondary education and learned French. 

In 1919, she went for a visit to her aunt Mihri Müşfik Hanım, who was our first woman artist living in Italy (Rome) with her family. She started to take technical drawing lessons from her artist aunt. Mihri Müşfik Hanım never wanted her niece to become an artist. “She tried to dissuade her by saying that "Art would not feed you". However, her family sent the talented Hale Asaf to Paris (1920). In Montparnasse, Hale Asaf was Namık İsmail's student and in 1921 when she won the entry to the Berlin Fine Arts Academy she was just sixteen years old. She was the student of Prof. Arthur Kampf at the academy. She was in the same class with Fikret Mualla. She talked to Ali Avni Çelebi, who was there for a short time. While she was in Berlin, her disease recurred and one of her breasts was removed. In 1924 she returned Istanbul due to financial difficulties. Between 1924 and 25, she was the student of Feyhaman Duran and İbrahim Çallı at School of Fine Arts (Arts Academy, later as Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University). In 1925 she started to use her grandfather's name Asaf instead of her father's. After the Independence War, her father ran to Egypt. Her mother, who divorced her father, died in a sanatorium in Switzerland.

Hale Asaf was a student who attracted her teachers' attention with her talent. Her paintings were remarkable both technically and with her specific interpretation. In January 1925, she won the European competition and in January 1926 she was sent to Germany by the Ministry of Education. There, in Munich she became the student of L. Corinth. The same year she went to Italy and the cists in the breast were removed.

In 1927 Hale went to Paris to her friends Refik Epikman, Cevat Dereli, Mahmut Cuda, Nurullah Berk, Ratip Asir Acudoğlu, Muhittin Sebati, Ali Karsan, İsmail Hakkı Oygar, Ali Hadi Bara, Fahreddin Arkunlar, and Şeref Akdik. Between 1927 and 13th August 1928, she continued Académie de la Grande Chaumiére and became the student of André Lhote. In this period, she was engaged to ceramicist İsmail Hakkı Oygar. She participated in Expose á la Nationale in Paris in 1928.

Asaf liked painting portraits the most, but also she attracted attention with her paysages. In 1926 she participated in Galatasaray Exhibitions with her portraits. Hale Asaf, who followed the developments in Europe on drawing techniques, registered to Académie de la Grande Chaumiére and became the student of Andre Lhote in Paris in 1927. She worked with Raoul Dufy and Henri Matisse of the impressionist artists. In this period she was engaged to ceramicist İsmail Hakki Oygar... In 1928 she returned to Istanbul with many Turkish artists. Journalist and artist Elif Naci and artist Şeref Akdik welcomed them. The news about their return was published in Milliyet.

In 1928 she was appointed as the art teacher to Bursa Kız Öğretmen School. In 1929 she undertook the French lessons in Bursa Necati Bey Kız Institute. On April 15th, 1929 she participated in the 1st Young Artists Exhibition opened in Ankara Etnografya Museum with six paintings. A group of artists including Hale Asaf was among the founders of Independent Artists and Sculptors Union in 1929. Thus, they laid the foundations of the modern Turkish painting, which was the extension of European art movements in Turkey. This union held exhibitions at Türk Ocağı (T.N. Turkish Organization) in Istanbul.

In 1929, Hale Asaf exchanged assignments with Mahmut Cuda and became the assistant of her former teacher Namık İsmail at Istanbul Fine Arts Academy. Until the end of 1931, she lived in the penthouse of Fikret Adil in Asmalımescit. In 1930 and 1931, she participated in the exhibitions of Independent Artists and Sculptors Union in Istanbul. In 1931, she went to Paris and had an eye surgery. Meanwhile, she met Antonio Aniante, who was the Italian man of letters, with whom she would be spending the rest of her life. She started to work in the Europe Youth Library directed by Aniante. In 1932 she participated in Young Europe art exhibition in Paris. Her portraits, paysage and still-life paintings were exhibited. In 1932, she participated to the exhibition at Jeune Europe. The same year her husband Aniante's gallery was closed and the couple had financial difficulties.

Hale Asaf, who joined the artist circles and participated in the Fall Hall exhibition of the Societe des Artistes Independants in 1935, painted the portrait of the Albanian King Zogo and sent it to him. A couple of months later, she received a considerable check. However, the health of the artist started to deteriorate; she had cancer again and was thinking of a suicide. She had a series of surgeries. In her last painting there was a woman in the middle of the flowers and birds, a child and a hand reaching them for help. She was thirty five when she died. While her funeral was passing from Montparnasse to be taken to Thais Cemetery, all her friends raised to their feet. Her husband, who was against Mussolini brought, Asaf's paintings to Istanbul in 1941; however most of her paintings were lost. After 1980, some of her paintings were found and those kept by her ex-husband İsmail Hakkı Toygar came out. 

In the paintings of Hale Asaf, who is known with her portraits and paysages of Bursa that reached today, the marks of her personal sensitivity comes out. In her portraits a search for a more massive shape is dominant and the painting is more careful. She solved the space issue with the gradual distribution of the continuous color spots of various densities and the differences she put in the depth dimension of the composition. The most distinct characteristic of her art was the lyricism that stands out naturally at the painting phase.

The most of her paintings are in international collections and some of them are in İstanbul Resim ve Heykel Müzesi (T.N. Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum). One of the two paintings sold in Paris Hotel Drout, "Oturan kız 1", is in Ahmet Utku Collection today.  It is known that the artist had twenty one portraits and only ten of them reached to date and ten of thirteen Bursa paysages one of the five Paris paysages and 1 general paysage reached today. An owl painting dated 1925 is in a private collection in the USA today. 

Hale Asaf, portrait drawing



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