Nedim Günsür, 1924-1994

Miner, 1957

While studying in the studio of Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu at the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts, Nedim Günsür joined the Group of Ten (On’lar Grubu) established by students from the same studio. During this period, he used contemporary techniques to reinterpret traditional motifs and imagery. Following this training, he went to Paris on a government scholarship. While working in an Impressionist vein in the studios of André Lhote and Fernand Léger, the artist developed an interest in African art and turned to a semi-abstract approach.

After returning to Turkey in the 1950s, Günsür began working as an art teacher in Ereğli on the Black Sea coast, where the lives of the miners made a deep impression on him. He depicted the miners on canvas, rendering visible their hopes, sorrows, and disappointments. When he returned to Istanbul, he continued to produce freestyle paintings, and during the 1960s his work, marked by hope and vitality, engaged with the joyful dynamics of daily life through seashores and parks. Most of his figures are positioned so they do not look at each other and impart feelings of loneliness and solemnity amid the joyful atmosphere surrounding them. War, urban life, migration, industrialization, amusement parks, and outdoor landscapes are among the other themes that Günsür explored.

In “Miner”, we see a powerful figure in front of a broad seascape. His darkly shadowed face resembles a hewn sculpture. Paintings of the sea usually have connotations such as enjoyment and repose, but here, the muddy gray and brown tones, the breakwater cutting across the sea, and the dismally colored boats reflect the coal dust that permeates the lives of the miners. Although coal is widely used both in homes and in industry, the miner usually remains a forgotten figure. In this painting, he becomes one of the unsung heroes without whom modernization would not have been possible.




Oil on canvas

Credit Line

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Collection

Eczacıbaşı Group Donation