Aliye Berger
First Female Engraver, Painter




She was born in Büyükada, Istanbul. Her brother was Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı (Fisherman of Halicarnassus) and her sister Fahrelnissa Zeid was one of the first female painters in Türkiye. She went to the elementary school in Büyükada which her father had built and then attended to Notre Dame de Sion High School. She took drawing and piano lessons.

Aliye Berger
Aliye Berger


Her relationship of 23 years with the Hungarian Violinist Karl Berger from whom she took lessons started.


Her husband Karl Berger she married six months ago died and she started engraving to ease her pain. She trained for three years in the workshop of famous painter and engraver John Buckland Wright in London.


She opened her first exhibition in Istanbul. There were no materials or studios in Türkiye for engravers in those years. The journalist Ahmet Emin Yalman built a press machine to press small works, by using parts of pressing machines at Vatan newspaper and that's how she continued to purse her art. She then became The First Female Engraver artist of Türkiye. She used unorthodox materials such as butcher paper, sand paper in her works.


She participated in the international painting competition called İş ve İstihsal organized by Yapı Kredi Bank and won with her first oil painting called Rising Sun. Next year, she came second in Tehran Regional Biannual with this painting. She opened 12 private exhibitions and participated in 48 mixed exhibitions in many cities around the world including Istanbul, Ankara, London, Paris, Vienna, Rawalpindi, Islamabad. Four of her works were exhibited Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum and three of her works were exhibited in Albertina Museum.


She opened her last exhibition in Taksim Art Gallery. She was part of Beyoğlu life in her apartment with balcony facing the street in the famous building Narmanlı Han where Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar and Bedri Rahmi Eyüpoğlu also lived.


Aliye Berger died in Büyükada where she was born and raised and loved dearly. She believed that she would meet love of her life Karl Berger in afterlife. Maybe she did...


A major retrospective exhibition on her name was organized at Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts.