Archive

Start Over

Nikolai Kalmykoff

  • Given name:
    Nikolai
  • Last name:
    Kalmykoff
  • Alternative names:

    Николай Калмыков, Nicola Kalmikof, Naci Kalmukoğlu

  • Date of Birth:
    1896
  • Place of Birth:
    Kharkiv (UA)
  • Date of Death:
    03-02-1951
  • Place of Death:
    Istanbul (TR)
  • Profession:
    MuralistPainterScene Designer
  • Introduction:

    Kalmykoff played an active part in the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople and at the same time worked as a stage designer. Later he acquired the Turkish citizenship.

    Word Count: 29

  • Signature Image:
  • Content:

    Nikolai Kalmykoff's life in Turkey can be divided into two phases. Before obtaining Turkish citizenship, he played an active part in the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople and at the same time worked as a scene designer at the Theatre des Petits Champs. After accepting Turkish citizenship, he assumed the name Naci Kalmukoğlu and worked in Istanbul (and other cities) as a painter in various forms of this profession until his death.

    The first stage was naturally preceded by life in the Russian Empire, or to be precise in Kharkiv, where Kalmykoff received his art education and, like Vladimir Bobritsky, associated with the Kharkiv cubo-futurists, Union of Seven. Due to the revolution and the civil war, Kalmykoff was forced to leave his hometown and move to Istanbul. However, this escape in no way affected his inspiration and performance. Being a member of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople and taking part in its exhibitions (including Exhibition of Russian émigré artists at Taksim Military Barracks), he achieved very high recognition, first as a landscape painter (1921–1922), and then as a portrait painter (1923). Moreover, it is known that he was the “right hand” of the chairman of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Wladimir Ivanoff, and that he was often in charge of the decorative part when organising exhibitions. Judging by the newspaper reports of 1923, he was engaged in creating stage costumes at the Theatre des Petits Champs. Later he began to paint murals in cinemas and residential buildings in Istanbul (the latter still can be seen in some places). In this regard, his acquaintance with Celal Esat Arseven played an important role, introducing him to the İpekçi brothers, who owned several cinemas in Istanbul. According to Marina Sığırcı, the walls and ceilings of such cinemas as Elhamra, Ipek, Lale and Yıldız were painted by Kalmykoff, but their fate is unknown. In addition, his murals can be seen at the Süreyya Opera House on the Asian side of Istanbul.

    Unlike Bobritsky, with whom Kalmykoff worked both in Kharkiv and at the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople and who moved to New York, Kalmykoff decided to stay in Turkey. He became a Turkish citizen in 1936 and thereafter held at least ten solo exhibitions, most of his works from these exhibitions selling out. It is known that he also exhibited his works at the entrance to large retailers. Usually, among the customers, there were certainly a number of art connoisseur who wanted to buy the artworks. He mainly painted landscapes, still lifes, portraits, nudes and paintings on the historical events of the Ottoman Empire. In 1941, he showed 80 of his works in Ankara, "whose residents were seeing such a large-scale exhibition for the first time in their lives" (Taha Toros, “Naci Kalmukoğlu”). Four more exhibitions followed, all at the same Kutlu pastry shop. The last exhibition took place in Istanbul, Beyoğlu, at the Beller Hotel in 1949 (Dostal 2016, 43). Nikolai Kalmykoff was on friendly terms with İbrahim Çallı (Alexis Gritchenko and Jules Kanzler's friend), Feyhaman Duran and Sami Yetik (Dostal 2016, 42).

    The artist died under mysterious circumstances. It is believed that he died after falling from the fifth floor of his house in the Vitalis Apartments, Bekar Street. The real reason for the fatal fall is still unknown. As an orthodox Christian, he was buried at Aya Lefter cemetery (6th part, no. 35–36) in the Kurtuluş district. After his death, nearly all unfinished works were completed by his friend Ibrahim Safi, who was also an émigré artist (Taha Toros, “Naci Kalmukoğlu”).

    Word Count: 594

  • Media:
    Nikolai Kalmykoff (http://www.antikalar.com/naci-kalmukoglu).
    Naci Kalmukoğlu, Liman (© Ankara Devlet Resim ve Heykel Müzesi).
    Naci Kalmukoğlu, Köyde tütün işleyenler (© Ankara Devlet Resim ve Heykel Müzesi).
    Works by Nikolai Kalmykoff (Ulus, 12 February 1941, p. 2).
    Works by Nikolai Kalmykoff (Ulus, 13 February 1941, p. 1).
    Nikolai Kalmykoff by Turkish caricaturist Ratip Tahir Burak (Ulus, 27 March 1943, p. 2).
    Exhibition in Ankara (Ulus, 28 March 1943, p. 2).
    Fortuneteller, by Nikolai Kalmykoff (Ulus, 15 November 1947, p. 3).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Anonymous. “Vystavka Soyuza Russkih Hudojnikov.” Presse du Soir, 19 June 1922, n.p.  

    Anonymous. “Vystavka Russkih Hudojnikov.” Presse du Soir, 8 December 1922, p. 3.

    Anonymous. “Na Vystavke Kartin.” Presse du Soir, 3 February 1923, n.p.

    Dostal, Halilhan, et al. Naci Kalmukoğlu: o bir yıldızdı = He was a star = Il était une étoile. İzmir: Arkas Sanat Merkezi, 2016.

    Leykind, Oleg, et al. Hudojniki Russkogo Zarubej’ya (1). Izd.dom “Mir”, 2019, pp. 600–601.

    Sığırcı, Marina. Spasibo, Konstantinopol’! Po sledam beloemigrantov v Turtsii. “Yevropeyskiy Dom”, 2018.  

    Toros, Taha. “Naci Kalmukoğlu.” antikalar.com, http://www.antikalar.com/naci-kalmukoglu.  Accessed 14 June 2020.

    Word Count: 92

  • Archives and Sources:

    State Art and Sculpture Museum in Ankara.

    Slavonic Library (Slovanská knihovna) in Prague.

    Word Count: 13

  • Author:
    Ekaterina Aygün
  • Exile:

    Istanbul, Ottoman Empire/Turkey (1920–1951).

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    Bursa Street 40 (now Sadri Alışık 40), Beyoğlu, Istanbul (studio); Küçük Yazıcı 4 (now presumably Tarlabaşı Blv. 79), Hüseyinağa, Beyoğlu, Istanbul (studio); Theatre des Petits Champs, Mezarlık Street 500 (now Meşrutiyet Caddesi 50), Beyoğlu, Istanbul (place of work); Bekar Sokak 9, Beyoğlu, Istanbul (residence and studio).

  • Metropolis:
    Istanbul
  • Ekaterina Aygün. "Nikolai Kalmykoff." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2949/object/5138-10440314, last modified: 14-09-2021.
  • Vladimir Bobritsky
    PainterScene DesignerGraphic ArtistMusician

    Bobritsky worked at the Theatre des Petits Champs, where he successfully dealt with stage designs and costumes, at the same time he participated in the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople.

    Word Count: 31

    Promotional photograph of Vladimir Bobri (1898–1986), illustrator, author and editor of Guitar Review magazine, 1950. Self-scan from Guitar Review magazine, Winter 1987, no. 8 (The entire contents of the GUITAR REVIEW unless otherwise noted are copyrighted © 1985 by ALBERT AUGUSTINE LTD).
    Promotional photograph of Vladimir Bobri (1898–1986), illustrator, author and editor of Guitar Review magazine, 1950. Self-scan from Guitar Review magazine, Winter 1987, no. 8 (The entire contents of the GUITAR REVIEW unless otherwise noted are copyrighted © 1985 by ALBERT AUGUSTINE LTD).Vladimir Bobritsky decorates the shawl of Vera Strelsky, a former member of the Russian Imperial Ballet (Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota), 13 January 1924, p. 86).Illustrations by Vladimir Bobritsky, Mentor, June 1930 (Chris Mullen, fulltable.com).
    Istanbul
    Nikolai Saraphanoff
    PainterIllustrator

    The artist is known for his numerous works with views of Istanbul, the design of the famous almanac’s cover, and the creation of decorative panels. Alas, his artistic activities were interrupted by his imprisonment.

    Word Count: 35

    Self-portrait by Nikolai Saraphanoff who created an elegant cover for the almanac Les Russes sur le Bosphore, 1927 (Russkiye na Bosfore. Les Russes sur le Bosphore Almanac, 1928, n.p.).
    Cover of Les Russes sur le Bosphore Almanac by Nikolai Saraphanoff, 1927.
    Istanbul
    Leonid Tomiloff
    Scene DesignerDecorator

    As a professional scene-designer, Leonid Tomiloff was in high demand in Istanbul. For many years, he worked at the Theatre des Petits Champs and was the chief decorator of the Constantinople Commercial Club.

    Word Count: 33

    Short note about Leonid Tomiloff (Radio, 30 January 1927, n.p.).
    Entertainment program of the Constantinople Commercial Club as listed in the Zarubezhnyi Klich almanac, April 1925.
    Istanbul
    Roman Bilinski
    PainterSculptorCollectorArt restorer

    At the beginning of the 1920s, a member of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Roman Bilinski was known as a sculptor. At the end of the 1920s–beginning of the 1930s – as a sculptor, painter and connoisseur of local antiques.

    Word Count: 42

    Self-portrait by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).
    Painter Dimitri Ismailovitch with his bust created by Polish sculptor Roman Bilinski, Istanbul, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Formal letter of thanks to Martha Stearns from the members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, 1922. One of the signatures is Roman Bilinski’s. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 9 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Bilinski's monument to the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz in Polonezköy was demolished but its plaque has been preserved (Postcard from Polonezköy, 2021).Adampol (Polonezköy) by Roman Bilinski (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Adampol (Polonezköy) by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1935 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Adampol (Polonezköy) by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Adampol (Polonezköy) by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Adampol (Polonezköy) by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Adampol (Polonezköy) by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Work by Roman Bilinski. Turkey, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).Work by Roman Bilinski. Yugoslavia, 1936 (Private Archive of Diana Bilinski).The cover of the book by Marco Farotto, Roman Bilinski - Un artista cosmopolita nel Ponente ligure. According to the author, Bilinski used to walk around dressed in this way.
    Istanbul
    Ismet Inönü Heykeli
    Monument

    Between 1941 and 1944 the Berlin sculptor Rudolf Belling worked on the Ismet Inönü Heykeli. The monument was placed in the neighbourhood of Maçka.

    Word Count: 24

    Rudolf Belling, Monument for Ismet Inönü, Maçka, Istanbul, 1940–1944, detail (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2002).
    Ismet Inönü, 3rd left, visiting the Academy of Fine Arts Istanbul. Also present: Mayor of Istanbul, Lütfi Kirdar, far left; Ismet Inönü and wife, both seated; Academy director Burhan Toprak, far right. Belling's equestrian statue of Inönü can be seen in the background, 1. August 1942, photographer unknown. (Cezar 1983, 16).Rudolf Belling, Monument for Ismet Inönü, Maçka, Istanbul, 1940–1944, front view (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2002).Rudolf Belling, Monument for Ismet Inönü, Maçka, Istanbul, 1940–1944 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2002).Rudolf Belling, Monument for Ismet Inönü, Courtyard of the Agricultural Faculty of the University of Ankara, 1943/44 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2004).Rudolf Belling, Moulding for the Istanbul University, entrance to conference room of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, 1946, detail (Photo: Dogramaci, 2002).
    Istanbul
    Exhibition of Russian émigré artists at Taksim Military Barracks
    Exhibition

    The exhibition of Russian-speaking émigré artists at Taksim Military Barracks was the first major exhibition organised by the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople.

    Word Count: 24

    Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople exhibition foyer, Taksim military barracks, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 11 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
    Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople exhibition foyer, Taksim military barracks, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 11 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople exhibition at Taksim military barracks, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 10 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Sculptures at the Union of Russian Painters exhibition in Constantinople, Taksim military barracks, summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 5 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Works of the Artel of Russian Craftsmen in Constantinople, Taksim military barracks, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 6 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople exhibition at Taksim military barracks, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 7 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople exhibition at Taksim military barracks, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
    Istanbul
    Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople
    Association

    The Union existed for less than two years but in that short space of time a tremendous amount of work was done by its members, refugees from the Russian Empire.

    Word Count: 30

    Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople logo from 1922 membership card of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople (Private Archive of Dimitri Ismailovitch that belongs to Eduardo Mendes Cavalcanti).
    Members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).1922 membership card of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople (Private Archive of Dimitri Ismailovitch that belongs to Eduardo Mendes Cavalcanti).Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople logo painted by T. Sabaneeff, 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 1 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).One of the exhibitions of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 10 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Exhibition of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople at Taksim military barracks, Summer 1922. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 6 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
    Istanbul
    Konstantinopol’skiy Kommercheskiy Klub
    Club

    KKK was probably the most popular Russian club in Beyoğlu district between 1924 and 1926. Not only Russian émigrés but also local residents could enjoy its constantly updated entertainment programme.

    Word Count: 30

    Some of the Russian artists who took an active part in the club’s events, clockwise from top left: violinist Pavel Alekseevich Zamoulenko, singer Maria de Monighetti, ballerina Yevgeniya Vorobyova, poet and musician Ivan Andreevich Korvatsky (Zarubezhnyi Klich almanacs of 1925).
    The name of the club as listed in the Zarubezhnyi Klich almanac, April 1925.The first chairman of the club, Nikolai Alekseevich Ilyin-Chesmensky (Zarubezhnyi Klich almanac, April 1925, n.p.).Some of the Russian artists who took an active part in the club’s events, clockwise from top left: violinist Pavel Alekseevich Zamoulenko, singer Maria de Monighetti, ballerina Yevgeniya Vorobyova, poet and musician Ivan Andreevich Korvatsky (Zarubezhnyi Klich almanacs of 1925).Istiklal Caddesi 130 (Elhamra Han), Beyoğlu, Istanbul (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2019).
    Istanbul
    Alexis Gritchenko
    PainterArt Historian

    During the two years of his life that he spent in Istanbul, Alexis Gritchenko produced more paintings dedicated to the city than many artists produce in an entire lifetime.

    Word Count: 29

    Portrait of Alexis Gritchenko by Turkish painter Namık İsmail, 1920. Private collection. Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).
    Portrait of Alexis Gritchenko by Turkish painter Namık İsmail, 1920. Private collection. Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).Byzantine Church Converted Into a Mosque, March 1920. Collection of the National Art Museum of Ukraine. Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).Landscape with Domes, October 1920. Collection of the National Art Museum of Ukraine. Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).Street in Eyüp, November 1920. Ömer Koç Koleksiyonu. Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).Three Turks in a Coffeehouse, February 1921. Ömer Koç Koleksiyonu. Istanbul, Meşher Art Gallery, “Alexis Gritchenko – İstanbul Yılları” Exhibition (Photo: Ekaterina Aygün, 2020).
    Istanbul
    Jules Kanzler
    PainterPhotographer

    Kanzler spent part of his life in the Russian Empire as a painter and the other in Turkey as a photographer who “documented” the early years of the Turkish Republic.

    Word Count: 30

    Jules Kanzler (Les Russes sur le Bosphore Almanac, 1927).
    Jules Kanzler (Les Russes sur le Bosphore Almanac, 1927).Valentina Taskina, by Jules Kanzler (Güneş, 9 August 1990).Photographs of artworks by young Turkish painters, Jules Kanzler, 1929 (Uyanış, 19 September 1929, p. 42).Photo by Jules Kanzler of one of the participants in the beauty contest (Cumhuriyet, 15 May 1929, n.p.).Photographs by Jules Kanzler (Uyanış, 18 April 1929, p. 1).Advertisement for Jules Kanzler's photo studio in Istanbul (Derjavnaya Rus', n.d., p. 21).Advertisement for Jules Kanzler's photo studio in Burlingame, California (The Times (San Mateo, California), 6 February 1948, p. 6).
    Istanbul
    Wladimir Ivanoff
    PainterSculptor

    Not only did Ivanoff become one of the founders and chairman of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, but he also became famous for “Drawing Thursdays”, which took place at his apartment.

    Word Count: 33

    Members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922. Presumably one of the men in this picture is Wladimir Ivanoff. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
    Members of the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople, Summer 1922. Presumably one of the men in this picture is Wladimir Ivanoff. Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 8 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).Photograph of the artwork by Wladimir Ivanoff (most likely). Source: Scrapbook “To Mr. and Mrs. Stearns from Russian Painters”, p. 16 (Stearns Family Papers. Archives & Special Collections. The College of the Holy Cross).
    Istanbul