Fahrelnissa Zeid (Turkish, 1901-91) Portrait of Carl Berger as a young man, husband of Aliye Berger
watercolour, gouache and pencil on paper 32.4 x 25 cm.
Provenance: UK private collection; acquired directly from the artist in the mid 1970s.
Carl Berger, an Hungarian refugee, was the music teacher to the Sakir Pasha family. Aliye Berger, the sister of Fahrelnissa Zeid and artist, fell in love with Carl at first sight and attributed him with introducing her to literature, painting and the arts. They begun a lifelong love affair that lasted for 32 years, only formalising their arrangement with marriage 23 years into their relationship. Tragically, Carl died of a heart attack after just six months of marriage, leaving Aliye distraught. She fled to London with Fahrelnissa and there began the art for which she would be best remembered: engraving.