Yahia Turki

(Tunisia 1901-1903 – 01 Mar 1969)

The blue door Sidi Bou Said

Other titles:
Tunisian women in front of the blue door
Not on display
Further information

Yahia Bin Mahmoud Al-Hajjam (known as Yahia Turki) was born in Ottoman Istanbul to a Turkish mother and Tunisian father. Following the death of his mother in c.1909, the family relocated to Tunisia where he received both Qur’anic education in Islamic schools and a French education at the Collège Sadeqi Institute and Lycée Alaoui. It was at the latter that Turki’s talents as an artist were recognised and encouraged by professors including French artists Georges Le Mare and Alexandre Fichet. In 1923 he was the first Tunisian artist to exhibit in the Salon Tunis, which had been been set up by the colonial community in 1894 to showcase European art. He continued to exhibit at the Salon for decades to come.

Turki was based in Paris from 1926-28 and again from 1931-35 where he came into contact with French modernists including André Lhote and Fernand Léger and developed a particularly close association with fauvist Albert Marquet. It is noteworthy that these periods in Paris intersect with the years that that Australian artists Grace Crowley, Dorrit Black and Anne Dangar studied in Paris under Lhote and Albert Gleizes.

'The blue door Sidi Bou Said' was executed in 1929 and reveals the artist looking at a quotidian Tunisian scene through the lens of French modernism. It depicts a street in Sidi Bou Said, a town 20km from Tunis renowned for its white buildings with blue windows and doors, and favoured by many Tunisian and European artists and intellectuals.

Place of origin
Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
oil on panel
41.0 x 33.0 cm panel
Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l., oil "YAHIA / 1929".

Purchased with funds provided by Meredith Paynter 2020
Accession number
© Estate of Yahia Turki