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  • The Turkish graphic designer Kenan was a popular artist in the Weimar Republic. He returned to Istanbul in 1943 to take up a position at the Academy of Fine Arts.
  • Kenan
  • Kenan Temizan, Osman Assaf Kenan

  • 06-10-1895
  • Istanbul (TR)
  • 21-01-1953
  • Istanbul (TR)
  • Fashion IllustratorGraphic Artist
  • The Turkish graphic designer Kenan was a popular artist in the Weimar Republic. He returned to Istanbul in 1943 to take up a position at the Academy of Fine Arts.

    Word Count: 29

  • Kenan, Halt!, illustration for STYL fashion journal, no. 4, 1924, plate 6, detail (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
  • The Berlin fashion designer Kenan was born Osman Assaf Kenan in 1895 in Istanbul, which was at that time the capital city of the Ottoman Empire. About 1920 he moved to Berlin to study at the Unterrichtsanstalt des Staatlichen Kunstgewerbemuseums. He soon made a name for himself with his elegant graphics for fashion magazines such as Sport im Bild, STYL or die neue linie, and as a teacher of fashion design at the Reimann School of Applied Arts. His fashion drawings, which frequently featured the designs of such Berlin fashion houses as Herrmann Hoffmann and Regina Friedländer, were dedicated to urban space: skyscrapers, billboards and cars are the ingredients of a world of fashion in which the protagonists are defined as elegant cosmopolitans.
    It is worth noting that Kenan's Turkish origins were never mentioned in the numerous contemporary contributions about him. Whether the artist himself concealed his identity or whether the stereotypical notions of 'Turk' were deemed incompatible with being an artist is not known. Kenan returned to Turkey in 1943, in the middle of the Second World War, probably in response to Allied attacks on Berlin.
    In that same year, having acquired the surname Temizan thanks to Kemalist name reforms, Kenan took up a position as professor and director of the moda atölyesi [fashion studio] at the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul and taught fashion drawing (Gezgin 2003, 31f.). Around the same time he also began working for the Turkish propaganda magazine La Turquie Kemaliste, which was dedicated to glorifying the achievements of Republican Turkey under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Kenan designed one of the magazine's most impressive covers, dedicated to the country's agricultural and industrial development.
    At the Academy of Fine Arts, Kenan was not the only German-speaking professor (in his case, a returnee expatriate). Even before Kenan Temizan took up his post in 1943, Ernst Egli (1927–1936), Bruno Taut (1936–1938) and Robert Vorhoelzer (1939–1941) were successively in charge of the architecture department. From 1943 to 1950 the town planner Gustav Oelsner taught at the academy and Rudolf Belling, professor of sculpture at the academy since 1937, was also there at the same time as Kenan. Belling and Kennan obviously knew each other from their time in Berlin. It is even said that it was Kenan who recommended Rudolf Belling in 1936 to the Turkish ministry of Education, thus paving the way to his position at the Academy of Fine Arts (Koparan 1991, 11).
    Kenan was a pioneer in Turkey in the graphic design of book covers, posters and advertisements, including advertisements for Ankara birası [beer] brewed at Atatürk Orman Çiftliği. He was also a border crosser par excellence between the metropolises of Berlin and Istanbul, but his  work in Germany and Turkey has yet to be examined from a transnational perspective.

    Word Count: 455

  • Kenan, Halt!, illustration for STYL fashion journal, no. 4, 1924, plate 6 (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
    Kenan, cover for La Turquie Kemaliste, no. 7, 1935 (Archive Burcu Dogramaci).
    Kenan (standing, far right) with colleagues from the Academy of Fine Arts. Photographer unknown, undated (Gezgin 2003, 32).
  • Dogramaci, Burcu. “Fenster zur Welt – Künstlerische Modegraphik der Weimarer Republik aus dem Bestand der Kunstbibliothek zu Berlin.” Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen. Gebr. Mann Verlag, 2004, pp. 201–233.

    Gezgin, Ahmet Öner. Akademi’ye Tanıklık. Güzel Sanatlar Akademisi’ne Bakişlar, vol. 3: Dekoratif sanatlar. Bağlam Yayıncılık, 2003.

    Koparan, Ergin. “Bir Cumhuriyet Kuşağı Sanatçısı: Yavuz Görey.” Ustalara Saygı. Anons Plastik Sanatlar Bülteni, December 1991, pp. 10–11.

    Word Count: 70

  • Burcu Dogramaci
  • Academy of Fine Arts (Güzel Sanatlar Akademisi), Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi No. 24, Fındıklı, Istanbul (workplace and studio).

  • Istanbul
  • Burcu Dogramaci. " Kenan." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 12-04-2021.
  • Rudolf Belling

    As a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and Technical University in Istanbul from 1937 until 1966, Rudolf Belling taught his students the technicalities of form, material and proportion.

    Word Count: 28

    Gustav Oelsner
    ArchitectCity Planner

    Gustav Oelsner became the founding father of urban planning in Turkey, his country of exile. He was also the author of numerous articles for the architectural journal Arkitekt.

    Word Count: 28