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TURKISH GRAPHIC DESIGN / TURKISH FEMALE DESIGNERS: Von Papen’in Hatiralari [Van Papen’s Memoirs]



A gigantic rare Turkish poster for the memoires of the German Nazi politician Franz von Papen, which were banned in the post-war Germany, was made by a leading Turkish Female designer Gülümser Aral. This is a hand-numbered proof state with the author’s original signature in the upper left corner.


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A large poster by a Turkish female designer Gülümser Aral was made as an advertisement for the memoirs of the former German chancellor, vice-chancellor, a Nazi politician and an ambassador to Turkey from 1939 to 1944, Franz von Papen (1879-1969). After being tried at the Nuremberg Trials, von Papen, who stood behind his decisions under the Nazi government, published his memoires in Switzerland in two volumes in 1952 and 1953. He was banned from publishing in Germany.

The first Turkish translation, published in 1952 – in the same year as the first Swiss edition, issued by the Dünya magazine and possibly published in pieces in the magazine opposed to a separately published text.

Gülümser Aral was one of the most brilliant Turkish designers of the post-war Turkey, famous for her advertisements and posters. Often left out in the references to the Turkish 20th century design, which was dominated by her male colleagues, Gülümser was only rediscovered in the past years.

Gülümser Aral was born in 1929 in Bursa and wanted to become a fashion designer under the influence of contemporary movies. Already as a teenager Gülümser was earning regular money by submitting her fashion drawings to magazines. In 1949, she was accepted to the graphic design department of the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul, with a specialisation in poster design. The specialisation under the mentorship of a Turkish academic artist Zeki Faik Izer (1905-

1988) lasted for three years under rough circumstances after WWII and after the university building was destroyed in the fire in 1948. The only available sources for the contemporary techniques were the German magazines Gebrauchsgraphik.

After graduating from the academy in 1953, Gülümser Aral signed a contract as the first designer for the bank Denizcilik Bankası, where she worked until 1960, producing some of her masterpieces and today great classics of the Turkish poster design.

Gülümser, who is now 91 years old, is still drawing and designing. Her talent for creating in lines on paper also became hear means of communication after losing her hearing.

References: Ömer DURMAZ, Manifold: Kadın Tasarımcının. Adı Var: Gülümser Aral Üretmen (26. 8. 2016)

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