The Group of Ten (Onlar) By Smith, Sarah-Neel
The Group of Ten (Onlar) was formed by ten students under the tutelage of prominent artist, critic, and poet Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu while at the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts. Composed of Mustafa Esirkuş (1921–1989), Nedim Günsür (1924–1994), Leyla Gamsiz (1921–2010), Hulûsi Saptürk, Fahrünnisa Sönmez, İvy Stangali, Turan Erol (1927--), Orhan Peker (1927–1978), Mehmet Pesen (1923--), and Fikret Otyam (1926), the group was Active from 1947 to 1955. The Group of Ten argued that contemporary Turkish artists should engage with traditional Turkish folk and decorative arts including textiles, calligraphy, and architectural design. In doing so, the Group of Ten differed significantly from their immediate predecessors and contemporaries (the D Group and the Newcomers Group) with whom they had a common educational background from the Istanbul Fine Arts Academy and various Paris studios, including those of André Lhote and Fernand Leger. The D Group and the Newcomers charged themselves with reconciling local social realities with artistic styles associated with Western modernity, including impressionist, fauvist, and cubist painting techniques. In contrast, the Group of Ten argued that Turkey’s storied decorative arts tradition had earned it an integral place within a history of world civilization, and that such decorative modes should be carried through to art-making in the modern period.