Leyla Gamsız, 1921-2010

Untitled, 1956

Born in 1921 in Istanbul, Leyla Gamsız took art lessons from Esref Üren while a primary school student in Sivas. She later completed her higher education in the Geography Department of Istanbul University. In 1939 she attended Bedri Rahmi Eyüboglu’s studio at the Academy of Fine Arts, and in 1947 founded the Group of Ten together with artists including her husband, the painter Hulüsi Sarptürk, and Nedim Günsür, also a painter. The group held their first exhibition in the dining hall of the Academy. The great efforts expended by this group to display their works would in later years be repeated by Gamsız for her own work. In 1950 she went to Paris and studied first in the studio of Fernand Leger and then in that of Andre Lhote. On her return to Istanbul she and her husband moved for a brief while to Hendek.

The artist did most of her landscapes and compositions based on village life in Hendek. During this period her works featured local motifs and typical qualities of the social realistic style. In a later period she favored abstractions formed from color masses. She depicted nudes, which make up the large majority of the artist’s oeuvre. The technical composition of these pictures is based not on an underlying sketch but on a sound ordering of colors. These works feature the female body and the approach to color and the use of paint are by now decided and indeed exhibit mastery. The bodies are never depicted in rich color; rather, they are generally shaped in pale colors mixed with white.

Dated 1956, this work reminds the artist’s early period. Rather than a female body consisting, as in her later works, of color masses, what we have here is a figure surrounded by thick black paint and emphasized by contours.




Oil on plywood

Credit Line

Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Foundation Collection

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art / Long Term Loan