ARTISTS / TOSUN BAYRAK

TOSUN BAYRAK

Born in Istanbul in 1926, Tosun Bayrak after graduating from Robert College in 1945, started his education at the Academy's Painting Department, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu Studio and at Istanbul University English Language and Literature Department.

In 1946, his first poetry book called "And..." was published. In 1946, he went to the USA to continue his education at the Faculty of Architecture in the Berkley California University. After a short time, he moved to Paris to study art. He went to La Grand Chaumiere Studio in 1947. Afterwards, he was enrolled in the studios of Andre Lhote and Fernand Leger, and in 1948 he was accepted to the Art History Department at The Courtauld of Art Institute in London. He returned to Paris in 1949 and continued to work in the same studios. He married in 1949 and returned to Turkey shortly after. The second of the poetry book, the first of which was published in 1946 under the title "And...", was published in 1951 with the title "Saying without Saying."


In the same year, he participated in the State Painting Exhibition held at the Ankara Opera House with the works made by him and his wife. In 1951, he moved his life to Casablanca, Morocco, where he engaged in the family business of commerce. In 1956, he was sent to Casablanca as honorary consul by the Prime Minister of the time, Adnan Menderes, for his services in the independence of Morocco. He also opened his first solo exhibition here. He moved to New York in 1959. He taught French and art at Morristown Alfred Vail Elementary School for 1 year, then opened an exhibition at the European Gallery in New York in 1960.

He taught painting, sculpture and art history for 30 years, starting from 1961, at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, where he founded the Faculty of Fine Arts. (After founding the Faculty of Fine Arts here, he made it possible to build New Jersey's largest art gallery at Fairleigh Dickinson University.) He launched the International Artists' Seminar program within the university. In 1961, he organized the group exhibition  "Three Turkish Painters" with Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu and Erol Akyavaş at the New York Angeleski Gallery. He received the title of associate professor from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1968. And here he became a professor of art.

Bayraktaroğlu opened many exhibitions in Europe and the USA in the 50s. His art works entered the collections of many universities.He was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1965. He was declared the pioneer of a new movement called "Shock Art" in English, with the exhibition he opened at the Riverside Museum in New York and with his "shocking" works in the late 60s and early 70s. With the influence of Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak, whom he met in 1974, he gradually took a break from his artistic work after that date and devoted himself entirely to the science of Islam and sufism.In addition to the two poetry books he wrote in Turkish in the 1940s, Bayraktaroğlu has many articles on art history, and has made many radio and television talks. He has important works on sufism that he translated into English and wrote commentary on. He returned to painting in the 2000s. In 2012, one of his masterpieces, "Americanization of Tosun Bayrak", was included in Istanbul Modern's collection. He opened his most important personal exhibition in Turkey with the title "Fasa Fiso" at Milli Reasürans Art Gallery in 2016. Tosun Bayrak passed away in 2018 in America.