Two Sisters, n.d.
The peasant girls seen here recur throughout Eren Eyüboglu’s oeuvre—whether in oils, mosaics, and prints. In her later works such as this one, the joyful colors of archetypal village brides and their costumes give way to more realistic depictions of anguished women.
Born in Iasi, Romania, Eyüboglu (neé Ernestine Letoni, or Leibovici) studied painting at the Fine Arts Academy there before leaving in 1929 for Paris, where she continued her training at the Académie Julian and with André Lhote. Her early work bears traces both of Cézannesque volumetric construction (courtesy of her time with Lhote) and Matisse-like flattening of space with interweaving of figure and ground through colorful folkloric elements. She oscillated between these two modes throughout her career—whether in portraits, self-portraits, still lifes, or landscapes. Some Turkish critics cited her as a better draftsperson than her husband, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboglu, the highly popular artist and poet whose shadow loomed large over her career.
After her marriage in 1936, Eren moved to Istanbul, where the Roma and Parisian views in her work gave way to colors and patterns derived from Anatolian folk traditions, including kilims, knitted socks, and embroidery on regional costumes. She visited numerous towns and villages across Turkey, both on her own and with her husband on assignment. Her best-known works depict small-town inns, village squares, and coffeehouses inspired by such trips.