Eyüboglu remains one of the most admired artists in Turkey, not only for his paintings and mosaics, with their appropriations of Anatolian motifs in colorful, modernist compositions—but also for his poetry. Abby Grey met him in the 1960s, when he was making extended trips to the United States on fellowships or to teach. Influenced by Mark Rothko’s use of color, Eyüboglu began using acrylic paint and sand. With its deep red hues, Full Moon, seen here, is a nod to both Rothko and the Turkish flag, which is said to be based on the reflection of the crescent moon in a pool of blood on the battlefield.
Born during the final years of the Ottoman Empire in the Black Sea town of Görele, Eyüboglu studied painting at the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts, Istanbul. He later joined his brother, Sabahattin, a writer, in France, and trained in the Paris studio of André Lhote during the 1930s. In France, Eyüboglu encountered the work of the Primitivists as well as Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, and Rouault. This exposure to Western idioms led him to a renewed appreciation for Turkish miniature painting, which he had previously dismissed. Returning to Turkey, Eyüboglu began writing articles for newspapers and journals and became an assistant and translator at the academy; eventually given his own studio to teach painting, he continued to work there until his death.