Chronological Order

Thematic order


Mihri Hanım

Mihri Hanım

Female painter, initiated the foundation of an Art School for Women and later it's director
"Where is the Art School for Women?"

Date of Birth: 26/02/1886 1886

Place of Birth: Istanbul

Date of Death: 1954

Place of Death: New York, N.Y., USA

Burial Site: Hart Island, New York, N.Y., USA



Field of Activity

Establishment of an art school for women
"Honourable Minister, Sir. With the introduction of constitutional monarchy, the country is enjoying freedom, equality, fraternity, but these blessings are only for men. Womenfolk are standing still where they are and are not even moving one step forward. Where does this privilege come from? Today everybody speaks of equality and justice. But where is the art school for women? Everything being done is for men."
(Mihri Müşfik)
Melih Aksel, İstanbul'un Ortası, İstanbul 1977, p. 104.

As a result of the efforts of Mihri Hanım, who was working as a teacher of painting in Darülmuallimat (School for Teachers Education) in 1913, the Art School for Women, İnas Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi was established on November 1st, 1914. This school was opened at today's main building of İstanbul University with painting and sculpture departments. Mihri Hanım worked as teacher and director in this school.

Painter Mihri Hanım
"One day, when painter Süruri was viewing the paintings in a store named Zülal at Şehzadebaşı, he saw a woman dressed in a garment, called "arabesque" in those days, with a full skirt embroidered in gilded thread.
He relates this encounter as follows: When I turned my head and saw this young woman, it was as if I saw the moon in the midst of black clouds. This luminous, refined and expressive face framed by dark eyes and eyebrows almost astonished me. How could a woman enter this store on her own when it was not even possible for women to go out to the street alone! Putting the paints and brushes she bought into her bag, this lady bade Hakkı Bey farewell like a person from Europe and left."
Melih Aksel, İstanbul'un Ortası, İstanbul 1977, pp. 103-104
The women' s magazine Genç Kadın reports about an exibition of Mihri Hanım on the 24th of October 1918:
"One of the teachers of the Art School for Girls, Mihri Hanım, opened an exhibition to the public of the paintings she had created within a period of four years. The opening, organised in a private house, was a happy occasion and passed in a sincere and unpretentious atmosphere. Generally almost every visitor, before complimenting the artist, expressed their amazement and would say: "It is extraordinary that a woman, as a result only of her own efforts, shows such great success in a field which is so foreign to our country. "Maybe this is a judgement arising from a pessimistic spirit which takes pleasure in scorning the position of women and constantly denigrating his surroundings. (…) In our view, Mihri Hanım is essentially one of us and she is not only an example to our painters but also to our poets, and at the same time she is also a good analyst and intellectual.(…)
"Şişlide Resim Sergisi", Genç Kadın, 24 October 1918, quotation: Mahinur Tuna in: "Mihri Hanım'ın Resim Sergileri ve Boş Kalan Çerçeveler"(The Exhibitions of Mihri Hanım and Empty Picture Frames),, 21.12.2007, access 21.12.2011.

Exhibition İnas Sanayi-i Nefise Cemiyeti (Women´s Society of Arts), 1917, Istanbul

Solo exhibition, Istanbul, 1918

Solo exhibition, George de Maziroff Gallery, New York, 1928

Collections with the works of Mihri Müşfik

Resim ve Heykel Müzesi, Istanbul

Rezan Has Müzesi, Istanbul


(No information available)


Member of Ottoman Painters Union (Osmanlı Ressamlar Cemiyeti)


Mihri Hanım was educated privately.

Contributions to Society

Mihri Hanım founded 1917 İnas Sanayi-i Nefise Cemiyeti (Women´s Society of Arts) and organised an exhibition in support of this society.

Family and Friends

  • Mother:(No information available)
  • Father : Mehmet Rasim Paşa (expert on anatomy, teacher)
  • Marriage: Müşfik Selami İnegöllü
  • Sister :Enise Hanım (mother of Hale Asaf, painter)
  • Brothers:Ahmet Refik (Laval), Ahmet Selman Açba, Ahmet Süheyl Açba, Ahmet Melih Açba
  • Nephew:Hale Asaf, (painter)
  • Friends:Tevfik Fikret (poet, teacher, publisher), Gabriele d'Annunzio ((poet, journalist, writer), Ahmet Emin Yalman (journalist, writer), Hüseyin Cahit Yalçın (journalist, writer, translator, politician), Rıza Tevfik (poet, philosoph), Mehmet Cavit Bey (one of the leaders' of Union and Progress Party), İbrahim Çallı (painter), Cemil Cem (diplomat, caricaturist, publisher), Renato Brozzi (sculptor), Abdülhak Hamit ((poet, playwright), Lüsyen Hanım, Leyla Turgut (architect)

Commemorative Projects

Society in her memory

Istanbul Kadın Ressamlar Derneği (İstanbul Women Painters Society) was founded in 2005 in memory of Mihri Hanım

Retrospective Exhibition of Mihri (Müşfik )Hanım

Eczacıbaşı Sanal Museum organised a Mihri (Müşfik) Hanım Retrospective Exhibition in memory of 50th anniversary of her death, Burcu Pelvanoğlu being the curator.

Theater scenario in her memory

1998 Mihri Rasim, Ölü bir Kelebek, play in two acts, Playwright: Selim İleri

Further Reading


Quoted Sources
Source of Visual Images


The Women's Museum Istanbul is grateful to Burcu Pelvanoğlu for her support in producing the Mihri Hanım memorial page.

Translation into English: Çetin Alanya, Istanbul, Turkey
Editing: Judith Cederblom, Seattle, Washington, USA

©2012 Meral Akkent
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