Ali Avni Çelebi
Born in Istanbul, Ali Avni Çelebi was the son of Suphi Bey, an intellectual of the period and the former chief secretary of the Baghdad province. In 1918, he entered the Academy of Fine Arts with his father’s support, and attended the studios of Hikmet Onat and İbrahim Çallı for two years each. In 1922 he went to Munich, first attending Heinemann’s studio, then enrolling in the Munich Academy of Fine Arts for a semester. In 1923, he briefly enrolled in Arthur Kampf’s studio at the Berlin Akademie der Künste (Academy of Fine Arts). He returned to Munich the same year, attending Hans Hofmann’s studio until returning to Turkey in 1927. In 1927, he took part in the Galatasaray Exhibition of that year, as well as the exhibition of the Association of Fine Arts in Ankara. He taught painting at the Konya Teacher Training School for Girls. In 1929, he was among the founding members of the Association of Independent Painters and Sculptors. In 1930 he returned to Munich, and continued to work under Hofmann. In the lead up to the Second World War, he returned to Turkey due to Hofmann’s intentions to settle in America. In 1931 he began to work as an assistant instructor at the Academy of Fine Arts, but was dismissed the same year. In 1934 he took a position as a draughtsman in the Archaeology Department of the Istanbul University. With the arrival of the new director of the Painting Department, Léopold Lévy, he was reassigned to the Academy of Fine Arts as an assistant in 1938. He established his own studio at the Academy at age 52, in 1956, and continued in this role until retiring in 1968. Ali Avni Çelebi won first place for his work at the 6th State Painting and Sculpture Exhibition in 1944 and the Tehran Art Biennial in 1966.
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