Chronological Order

Thematic order


Tomur Atagök

Tomur Atagök

First scholar to introduce museology as an academic subject in Turkish higher education
"Museums contribute to human understanding."

Date of Birth: 06/05/1939 1939

Place of Birth: Istanbul

Date of Death:

Place of Death:

Burial Site:



Tomur Atagök Tomur Atagök

Field of Activity

"I wrote my thesis on museology. Then I worked as assistant director at Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture. As an academic, artist and museum administrator I could see and analyze the problems in museology in Turkey. I saw the need for professional museologists, academically educated and trained to manage finance, museum collections, and public relations within the given strategies of the museum's profile. So in 1989 I founded the first Museology Department in Turkey at Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul, and was the head of the department till my retirement.

The arts and cultural activities are very effective for understanding and fulfill an educational role. So museums are very important places for cultural encounters. Museums contribute to human understanding."
(Prof. Dr. Tomur Atagök)
Tomur Atagök, the feminist artist
"When I started to work at the Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture, I realized that there were no works by woman artists on display. For example, the works of Mihri Muşfik, who is known as the first Turkish woman artist, were in the storage. I started to concentrate my attention on female artists more closely in the Museum. First I started to lecture, then exhibited works of woman artists. That is how I started to be an activist.
I see my self as a feminist artist. My art projects, entitled 'Goddesess and Ordinary Women', 'Games, Toys, Children, War, and Love', 'Diaries', 'Call of Nature', were all created with a feminist concern. War, death, life, love, games, environment and women are all aspects of one whole. How do you expect a change, when you give dolls to girls and toy guns to boys? When I am asked how many hours a day I paint, I can't tell them I paint eight hours a day. I tell them I paint a little, then I stop for a while to write. Then I start painting again. I have never been a full-time artist. I believe no woman can claim that. They are caught between motherhood, housework and art. That's why they produce less art. If you can dedicate all your time and attention and work hard, you move on. But if you can't, you never make it. It is a really difficult balance."
(Prof. Dr. Tomur Atagök)
(A selection)
  • 1966Devlet Güzel Sanatlar Galerisi, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1968 Freemanson Gallery, Upper Preston, Washington, USA, solo exhibition
  • 1968 The East Shore Gallery, Washington, USA, solo exhibition
  • 1969 Shavey-Schiller Sergisi, Washington, USA, solo exhibition
  • 1969 Court C Gallery, Tacoma, Washington, USA, solo exhibition
  • 1970 AAA Art Gallery, Seattle, Washington, USA, solo exhibition
  • 1971-1972 Panaca Sanat Galerisi, Bellevue, Washington, USA
  • 1972"20.Mother-Lode Sanat Yarışması", California, USA
  • 1972 "Seattle Uluslararası Baskı Sergisi", Seattle , Washington, USA
  • 1973 "Watercdor USA", Springfield, Missouri, USA
  • 1974 Taksim Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1974-1975
    "Devlet Resim ve Heykel Sergisi", Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir
  • 1975 Cumali Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1975 Amerikan Basın ve Kültür Merkezi Galerisi, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1976 Bayreuth-Schloss Eremitage, Bayreuth, Germany
  • 1978 Galeri Baraz, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1978 "Akdeniz Bienali", Alexandria, Egypt
  • 1978-1985 "DYO Resim Sergisi", Istanbul, İzmir, Ankara
  • 1978 "Sanat 78", AKM, Istanbul
  • 1979 Hoogoven Kültür Merkezi Sanat Galerisi, Drenthe, Netherlands, personal exhibition
  • 1980 "Kdaj Sergisi", Aele Galerisi, Madrid, Spain
  • 1980-1983 "Günümüz Sanatçıları Istanbul Sergisi", Istanbul
  • 1981 Devlet Güzel Sanatlar Galerisi, Istanbul, personal exhibition
  • 1981-1983
    IDGSA Sanat Bayramı "Yeni Eğilimler Sergisi", Istanbul
  • 1982 Bebek Akbank Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul, personal exhibition
  • 1983 Devlet Güzel Sanatlar Galerisi, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1984 Vakko Sanat Galerisi, İzmir, Ankara, solo exhibition
  • 1984 "Les Examples de L'art Contemporain Turque", Algeria
  • 1984 "1950'den Günümüze Türk Resim Sanatından Bir Kesit", Istanbul
  • 1984-1988 "Öncü Türk Sanatından Bir Kesit" Sergisi, Istanbul
  • 1985 Garanti Bankası Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1985 "Türk Resmi", Rumania
  • 1986 "Güncel Resimden 'insan' yorumu", BM, Istanbul
  • 1986 "Işık ve Derinlik", Tem Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul
  • 1986 "Çağdaş Türk Plastik Sanatları" Sergisi, TBMM, Ankara
  • 1986 "Çağdaş Boyutlar", Artnet, Istanbul
  • 1986-1987"İnsan Hakları İçin Karma Sergi", Teşvikiye Sanat Galeris, Istanbuli
  • 1987 "Türk Resminde Modernleşme Süreci", Galeri Baraz Organizasyonu, AKM, Istanbul
  • 1987 "Özgün Baskı Karma Sergisi", Urart Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul
  • 1987 "Yeni Eğilimler Sergisi", MSÜ, Istanbul
  • 1987 "Güncel Boyutlarıyla Resim Sanatımız", Galeri Baraz Organizasyonu, AKM, Istanbul
  • 1987 "Highlights", Mine Sanat Galerisi, London, United Kingdom
  • 1988 Devlet Resim ve Heykel Müzesi, Ankara, solo exhibition
  • 1988 Çağdaş Türk Resminden, Galeri Baraz Organizasyonu, Yıldız Üniversitesi, Istanbul
  • 1988 Resim ve Heykel Sergisi, Çocuk Esirgeme Kurumu, AKM, Istanbul
  • 1989 Lami Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1989 Kaya Alp Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1989 Aralık'88, Soyak Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul
  • 1989 Büyük Sergi, Galeri Baraz Organizasyonu, Atatürk Kültür Merkezi, Ankara
  • 1989 Büyük Sergi, Galeri Baraz Organizasyonu, Eskişehir Üniversitesi Sergi Salonu, Eskişehir
  • 1989 Çağdaş Sanat' 89, Yapı Kredi Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul
  • 1989 Grup Sergisi, Derimod Kültür Merkezi, Istanbul
  • 1990 Aralık'89, Soyak Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul
  • 1990 Çağdaş Sanat Yaz Sergisi, Mine Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul
  • 1990 Etkinlikler Süresince 15 Yıl, Galeri Baraz Organizasyonu, AKM, Istanbul
  • 1990 "Büyük Sergi II", MSÜ Resim ve Heykel Müzesi, Istanbul
  • 1990 "Büyük Sergi II", Atatürk Kültür Merkezi, Ankara
  • 1991 Aralık '90, Soyak Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul
  • 1991 Derimod Kültür Merkezi, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1991 Akbank Resim Koleksiyonundan Bir Kesit Yıldız Üniversitesi, Istanbul
  • 1991 "Çağdaş Türk Resminden II", Galeri Baraz Organizasyonu, Yıldız Üniversitesi, Istanbul
  • 1991 "Günümüz Sanatçıları 12. Istanbul Sergisi", Mimar Sinan Üniversitesi, Resim ve Heykel Müzesi, Istanbul
  • 1992 Fransız Kültür Merkezi, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1992 Rotary Sanat Merkezi, İzmir, solo exhibition
  • 1993 Resim Heykel 92/93 Sergisi, Mine Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul
  • 1993 20. Yüzyıl Sonuna Doğru Galeri B, Istanbul
  • 1993 "Cumhuriyet'ten Günümüze Kadın Sanatçılar", Arkeoloji Müzeleri, Istanbul
  • 1993 "Cumhuriyet'ten Günümüze Kadın Sanatçılar", Arkeoloji Müzeleri, Istanbul
  • 1994 Galeri B, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1994 National Gallery, Skopia, Republic of Macedonia, solo exhibition
  • 1994 Kocaeli Üniversitesi Galerisi, İzmit, solo exhibition
  • 1995 "Çağdaş Türk Sanatında Resim ve Kavramsal Eğilimler II ", Galeri Baraz Organizasyonu, Koç Üniversitesi, Istanbul
  • 1995 "Günümüz Türk Resim Sanatından Bir Kesit", Passion Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul
  • 1995 National Gallery, Skopje, Macedonia, solo exhibition
  • 1995 National Gallery, Bitola, Macedonia, solo exhibition
  • 1995 Mine Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1996 Clarion University, Art Dept., Pa, USA, solo exhibition
  • 1996 ACME, Art Gallery, N.C., USA, solo exhibition
  • 1996 "Türk Resminde Ustalar ve Gençler", Galeri Baraz Organizasyonu, Consulate General of Austria, Cultural Office, Istanbul
  • 1996 "21. Yüzyıla Doğru Yaşam: İnsan ve Çevre", Yıldız Teknik Üniversitesi, Istanbul
  • 1996 Women Ceadtros of the Tow Seas / The Mediterranean and the Black Sea, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 1996 Balkan Art 96 I, Novi Sad, Serbia
  • 1997 Aksanat Akbank Sanat Merkezi, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 1997 "Çağdaş Türk Resminden III" Galeri Baraz Organizasyonu, Yıldız Teknik Üniversitesi, Istanbul
  • 1997 "Çağdaş Türk Resminde Estetik Dinamikler", Galeri Baraz Organizasyonu, Koç Üniversitesi, Istanbul
  • 1997 "Özgün Baskı Sergisi", Derimod Sanat Merkezi, Istanbul
  • 1998 "Türk Resminde Soyut Eğilimler" Galeri Baraz Organizasyonu, AKM, Istanbul
  • 2006 Tomur Atagök - Diaries - Proje4L/Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 2007 Selection 2007 - Proje4L/Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul, solo exhibition, Istanbul
  • 2008Cumhuriyetin 85. Kuruluş Yıldönümü (85.Gründungsjahr der Republik der Türkei) Gallery art & life, Istanbul
  • 2008'Haliç', Rezan Art Müzesi, Has Üniversitesi,Istanbul
  • 2008'Barış Gelini, UPSD, Istanbul
  • 2008-2009 'Made in Turkey', Ernst Barlach Museum Gesellschaft, Frankfurt, Germany
  • 2008-2010 "Vincent Van Gogh'un Peşinde, Modernizmin İzinde", Istanbul; İzmir; Ankara
  • 2009ODTÜ Sanat Festivali, Ankara
  • 2009Gwangju and Istanbul Art Exchange, Gwangju, Korea; Istanbul, Türkiye
  • 2009"Neredeyiz?", Mine Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul
  • 2009"Impressionen", Landhaus, Bregenz, Austria
  • 2009"3. EgeArt Sanat Günleri", Ege Üniversitesi, İzmir
  • 2009"Where is my privacy?", Casa Dell'Arte, Istanbul
  • 2009"Cumhuriyet Kadınları Resim Sergisi", Galleri Sevart, Istanbul
  • 2009Kare Sanat Galerisi-Mine Sanat Galerileri, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 2010 Istanbul Sammlung Hüma Kabakçı, Osthaus Museum, Hagen; Museum Goslar, Germany
  • 2010 Istanbul Sammlung Hüma Kabakçı, Modern Hungarian Gallery, Pecs, Hungary
  • 2010 Mardin Bienali – Abbara Kadabra - Mardin Biennial, Mardin
  • 2011 Hayal ve Hakikat / Dream and Reality - Istanbul Modern, Istanbul
  • 2011 "Doğanın Çağrısı" Tomur Atagök Sergisi, Kare Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul, solo exhibition
  • 2015 Retrospective exhibition, Mustafa Kemal Kültür Merkezi, İstanbul
(A selection)
Exhibitions organized by Tomur Atagök
(A selection)
  • 1979-1983Contemporary İstanbul Artists Exhibitions, MSGSU Association of Museums of Painting and Sculpture, Istanbul
  • 1983 "Contemporary Turkish Art", Anatolian Civilizations, UNESCO exhibitions
  • 1984-1988 A Cross-section of Avant Gard Art Exhibition (with Yusuf Taktak), Istanbul
  • 1986-1989 Beymen Exhibitions İstanbul, Ankara
  • 1990 "The Great Exhibition II", Organised by the Association of Museums of Painting and Sculpture for Santral Holding, İstanbul, Ankara, Eskişehir (coordinator)
  • 1984-1993 "Art and Industry" Exhibitions, Yıldız Teknik Üniversitesi, Istanbul
  • 1991 Exhibition of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality for Eurodialogue, Istanbul
  • 1991 "Old İstanbul is Enjoying Music and Theater" City Museum, Istanbul (Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and together with Yildiz Technical University, Museology graduate students)
  • 1992 "Turkish Women artists of the First Half of the Twentieth Century ..." Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul
  • 1993 "Women Artists in The Republican Period" Exhibition, Women in Anatolia Through The Ages", Exhibitions, Ministry of Culture, Istanbul Archeology Museums
  • 1995 "İzler-Tracks" Turkish Women's Association – YTU, Y. Sabanci Art Center, Istanbul, Yapı Kredi Bankası, Izmir, Adana
  • 1998 "41 Years, 41 Artists, 41 Works", Marmara University Faculty of Arts 41th Anniversary of the Marmara University. Faculty of Fine Arts, Istanbul (Curating Group Member)
  • 2000500. Years Foundation Museum of Turkish-Jewish Association, Istanbul (Advisor)
  • 2001 "Ben Gördüğün Gibi Değilim" Wie du mich siehst so bin ich nicht, Frauen Museum, Bonn, Germany (Curator)
  • 2001"Ben Gördüğün Gibi Değilim" Wie du mich siehst so bin ich nicht, Galerie Hohenzollerndamm, Berlin, Germany (Curator)
  • 2002Meeting of Artists: International Workshop and The Exhibition "" , İstanbul Sanat Müzesi Vakfı, Askeri Müze, İstanbul (Coordinator)
  • 2003"Purification" Turkish Artists Exhibition, Skopje, Macedonia; Sarayova, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Coordinator)
  • 2009"Exhbition's of Exhibition", İstanbul MSGSU Painting and Sculpture Museum, Istanbul (Exhibition Organization Committee Member)
  • 2010"Doctor Global and Mr. Local", Skopje, Macedonia (One Person Jury)
  • 2010"Young/New/Different", Casa Dell Arte, İstanbul (One Person Jury)
Collections with Tomur Atagöks works
(A selection)
  • Collection Turkish Parliament, Ankara
  • Istanbul Modern, Istanbul
  • Akbank, Istanbul
  • Elgiz Museum, Istanbul
  • Collection Merkez Bank, Istanbul
  • Collection Garanti Bank, Istanbul
  • Collection Bank of Holland, Istanbul
  • Anadolu University Contemporary Art Museum, Eskişehir
  • Devrim Erbil Contemporary Art Museum, Balıkesir
  • Jordan National Art Museum, Amman
  • City Museum of Prilep, Republic of Macedonia
  • City Museum of Kriva Palanka, Republic of Macedonia
  • City Museum of Galičnik, Republic of Macedonia
  • Skopje City Museum, Republic of Macedonia


  • 1962Society of Illustrators, New York
  • 1962Most Successful Graduating Student, Oklahoma State University
  • 1972Mixed Media Award in Mother Lode National Art Exhibition, First Prize
  • 1974 Annual State Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, Ankara, İstanbul, Achievement Award
  • 1976 UFACSI Clermont-Ferrand et Vichy International Arts Prix, France, Group Award
  • 1979Ev Dekorasyon Magazine "Golden Palette Competition", İstanbul, First Prize
  • 19834th Contemporary İstanbul Artists Exhibition, İstanbul, Achievement Award
  • 1983New Trends Exhibition, İstanbul Sanat Bayramı, MSGSU, İstanbul, Silver Medal
  • 1985Turkish Grand Parliament Competition, Ankara, Second Prize
  • 1989Ankara Arts Association, Ankara, Successful Painter of the Year
  • 2015 International Association of Art (IAA/AIAP), an initiative of UNESCO, Award of Honor for her contribution as an artist and academician


A.I.A.P Unesco

ICOM Unesco

Resim ve Heykel Müzeleri Derneği

İstanbul Sanat Müzesi Vakfı (1999-2011)


  • 1959Robert College, Istanbul
  • 1962Oklahoma State University (BFA), College of Arts and Crafts, USA
  • 1965University of California, Berkeley (MA), USA
  • 1983Mimar Sinan fine Arts University (PhD), Istanbul

Contributions to Society

  • 1979 Founding member of Association of Museums of Painting and Sculpture
  • 1992 President of City of Istanbul Municipality Library and Museums Association

Family and Friends

  • Mother: Nermin Atagök (housewife)
  • Father: Mehmet Rüştü Can Atagök (air-force colonel)
  • Sister: Çiçek Başyazgan (teacher)
  • Sons: Teoman Dennis Smith, (computer programmer), Troy Randolph Smith (teacher)
  • Marriage:Terry Dennis Smith (Middle East history specialist
  • Friends:Ayla Ödekan (art historian, academic), Belkis Balpınar (artkilim), Burcu Pelvanoğlu (art historian, academic, curator), Corrie van der Velde (social worker), Eda Soykan (art director), Geyvan Mcmillen (modern dancer, akademic), Paul Mcmillen (artist, advertiser), Gönül Nuhoğlu (artist), Leyla Belli (President of the Association of Museums of Painting and Sculpture), Meriç Hızal (sculptor), Mine Gülener (art gallery owner), Muhsin Bilge (notary, collector), Nur Koçak (painter), Semra Germaner (art historian, academic), Zeynep İnankur (art historian, academic), Zerrin Tuluğ (painter), Yusuf Taktak (painter).

Commemorative Projects


Tomur Atagök privat web page:


Further Reading

Quoted Sources
  • Interview with Tomur Atagök
  • Özlem İnay Erten, "Tomur Atagök: Sıra Bana Ne Zaman Gelecek?" Lebriz Sanal Dergi, 30.3. 2009,
  • Ayşegül Sönmez (Ed.), , Haksız Tahrik (Bir sergi Kitabı) , Amargi, Istanbul, 2009, p. 39-144.
Sources for Visual Images
  • Private archive of Tomur Atagök


The Women's Museum Istanbul is grateful to Tomur Atagök for her support in producing this introductory pages.

Translation into English: Emre Aslay, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Editing: Lyndall von Dewitz, Oberasbach, Germany

©2012 Meral Akkent
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