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Hikmet ONAT
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(Findikli, Istanbul, May 1882-lstanbul,14 March 1977)

The artist's father was the naval commander Murat bey of Kanlica, at whose behest he enrolled at the Naval - Academy on the island of Heybeliada, graduating in 1905 and serving for a time as a deck officer. He and Ruhi Arel took lessons in drawing and painting at the School of Fine Arts, while at the same time Onat studied under the naval photographer Ali Sami Bey, enrolling at the school in 1905. Passing the so-called Europe examination Onat went to Paris in 1910 to study under Cormon, hut with the outbreak of World War 1 returned home, where he taught an at the Mekteb-i Sultani (Galata High School). “Encouraged by the principal, Halil Ethem, he transferred to the School of Fine Arts, where he was appointed to replace Varnia Zarzecki teaching the preparatory class, and later was made director of a studio.

When in 1939 the Republican People's Party sent artists to various parts of the country, Onat went to Bursa, but he taught at the school until his retirement on 1 May 1949, at the age of 65. From 1914-18, along with other 1914 generation artists, be worked in the Sisli Studio, which was under the aegis of War Minister Enver Pasha, depicting soldiers, scenes of battle and victory, and similar subject matter.

In 1908 be was a founding member of the Society of Ottoman Painters and the Fine Arts Union, contributing works to their exhibitions. His works were also displayed at State Exhibitions of Painting and Sculpture, and in 1973 and 1974 he was awarded prizes. His first one-man show came in 1977.

Onat adhered to the academic/impressionistic tradition. After his academic, classical period observation gained importance in his work, as he turned to landscapes and compositions with figures. He stressed patriotism, particularly during the early years of the Republic, in a style that rendered the effects of sunlight in light and dark color dabs. In varied Istanbul landscapes, especially shoreline views, barges and scenes that feature choppy or reflecting water, Onat laid his paint on in thick layers. His close up depictions show a love and keen observation of nature, and a love also of Istanbul emanates from his landscapes done at Kanhca, Bebek, the Golden Horn, ^engelkoy, Scutari, Kahalas and other environs of the city. Although be wished to paint realistically he refused to show the darker side of life, and his works are imbued with a bright cheer. He insisted that he was not an impressionist, yet worked outdoors and employed an impressionist's palette.