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Zeid, Fahrelnissa (1901–1991) By Touati, Samia

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM540-1
Published: 09/05/2016
Retrieved: 13 June 2024, from


Fahrelnissa Zeid was a prominent and influential figure in Turkish modern art. An accomplished early modernist Turkish painter, she was as influential for modern Jordanian art. Zeid addressed a variety of themes and subjects in her artworks, including scenes of everyday life and portraits of family members, relatives, and friends. In her portraits, Zeid exaggerated her subjects’ features. The large rounded eyes and elongated faces she rendered are reminiscent of Byzantine iconography and Egyptian Fayum portraits. Although Zeid’s art is predominantly abstract, her style is unique and draws on Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam. One of the first women to attend the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul in 1920, Zeid studied under the Turkish painter Namik Ismail. Considered a pioneer of modern Turkish abstract painting, Zeid joined a circle of young Turkish artists known as the D Group in 1942. In 1928, she traveled to Paris and trained in the studio of Stahlbach and Roger Bissière at the Académie Ranson. Zeid took part in a generation of artists referred to as the New Ecole de Paris, as their exhibitions in Paris led to the emergence of various art movements.

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Citing this article:

Touati, Samia. Zeid, Fahrelnissa (1901–1991). Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

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