Istanbul (TURKEY), 1903 – Reillanne, 1967
Fikret Moualla, or Fikret Saygi, was born in Istanbul in 1903. He was introduced to drawing and French culture at a very early age, thanks in particular to the French-speaking high school in which he studied. He then travelled through Europe to Switzerland, Germany and France to continue his studies, but a series of psychiatric accidents and hospitalizations – as well as his father’s refusal to continue subsidizing him – forced him to return to Turkey. There he was diagnosed as having normal mental health and was appointed as a drawing teacher in a high school in Ayvalı, a post he soon left in order to fully practice his art. He was hospitalised again for a long time and Moualla preferred to leave Turkey for France in 1939.
In Paris, alcoholism added to the artist’s fragile mental health. Thanks to Dina Vierny, Fikret Moualla had his first Parisian exhibition in 1954 and met great French artists. He then regularly exhibited in Parisian galleries in addition to Dina Vierny’s, such as those of France Bertin, Marcel Bernheim, Bruno Bassano and Katia Granoff. Despite his unstable reputation and new hospitalizations, the collector Fernande Anglès supported him financially. From then on, the artist oriented his production towards more naive painting.
Youki Desnos, an artistic figure from Montparnasse, said of his painting: “Moualla establishes vast ‘patches’ of pure, continuous colour. These assertive surfaces are never flat. With their strident colours, they are never vulgar, for this colour, which is responsible for recreating a space, a light, is astonishingly accurate in tone, full of tremors and depth. These “coloured” areas support and set the “scenes” that Moualla’s drawing invents. This fast, confident, incisive drawing captures the characters in their gestures. Authoritative and tender, it expresses, with a perfect economy of means, what it has to express, without complacency, without dryness. On the contrary, wide and airy, it creates space, and quite naturally, where this drawing asserts itself, Moualla’s colour shades, divides, in a play of subtle values.
Fikret Moualla became paralysed in 1962 and ended his life in a clinic in Reillanne in May 1967.
Nu rose, 1954
20,1 x 26,5 cm, gouache sur papier
Passantes et enfant, 1954
28,2 x 37,8 cm, gouache sur papier