Erol Akyavaş

Erol Akyavaş started painting at Fine Arts Academy, Bedri Rahmi atelier as a guest student. Between 1950-1953, he attended the summer classes of the Florence Academy of Fine Arts. While studing painting with André Lhote and Fernand Léger in Paris, he has attended Cercle et Carré and Salon des Realités Nouvelles exhibitions. After leaving France, Akyavaş travelled to USA and studied architecture with Mies Van Der Rohe at Illinois Institute of Technology. Shortly after his graduation, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York added his work “Glory of the Kings” in its collection and the piece took part in the “History of Modern Painting” exhibition of MoMA the following year. Besides his paintings, Erol Akyavaş continued his architectural works; his designs for the Cappadocia Hotel in mid 60’s became one of the finalists of Aga Khan Prise after twenty years. Paintings of Akyavaş began to be exhibited in various American museums starting from 1955 and a solo exhibition was opened in Cleveland Museum in 1968. Regular solo exhibitions followed in several art centres of the world including New York, London, Paris and Istanbul. After his death in 1999, a retrospective exhibition of the artist organised by Istanbul Bilgi University took place at Dolmabahçe Palace in October 2000 attended by 20.000 audiences. Works of Akyavaş hosted at the British Museum collection were presented to the Londoners as part of the exhibition titled “Word into Art” during May-September 2006. Then, in 2013, Istanbul Modern lodged a retrospective exhibition for him under the curatorship of Levent Çalıkoğlu covering the works from his half a century long artistic period, more specifically from 1950s to the end of 1990s. In 2016 his photographs, which constitute one of the main veins of his artistic production came to light for the first time. New York Metropolitan Museum (The MET) added one piece from his series titled “Rescripts” to its collection. In Turkey, Akyavaş’s works were last seen in the group show "Another Round" organized by Galeri Nev in The Kendi Collection -a parallel event of the 17th Istanbul Biennial- whereas in the world, it was the "Glory of the King", the work that was included in the collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1961, that has met the audience after sixty-two years with the recent exhibition titled "Calligraphic Abstraction".