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The blue door Sidi Bou Said



Yahia Turki


1901-1903 – 01 Mar 1969

  • Details

    Other Title
    Tunisian women in front of the blue door
    Alternative title
    Tunisiennes devant la porte bleue
    Place where the work was made
    Sidi Bou Said Tunisia
    Media category
    Materials used
    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
    20th-century galleries (ground floor)
    Accession number
    © Estate of Yahia Turki

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Yahia Turki

    Works in the collection


  • About

    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.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication