The Characters of Yusuf Franko: An Ottoman Bureaucrat's Caricatures


“The Characters of Yusuf Franko: An Ottoman Bureaucrat’s Caricatures” was curated by Bahattin Öztuncay, designed by Yeşim Demir Pröhl, and features scripts written by K. Mehmet Kentel. Yusuf Franko’s album, compiled between the years 1884 and 1896, will be on display for the first time. Through the exhibited caricatures, which mark an interaction with the European caricature tradition, the visitors will meet satirically charged portraits of wealthy capitalists, members of high society, Ottoman pashas, Levantines, artists, and diplomats of the late 19th century. The caricatures offer the visitors the opportunity to take note of the colorful social networks to which Yusuf Franko belonged, especially those of the Beyoğlu-Pera quarter, as well as the global locales of Istanbul. By following the caricatures, their real-life counterparts, and the places they frequented, the exhibition emphasizes how the Galata-Beyoğlu axis became a financial and diplomatic center as well as a destination of international culture and arts.

The exhibition not only evaluates the works of Yusuf Franko from the perspective of space and social networks, but also it touches on significant places of the period, such as the Naum Theater. In part, the exhibition also serves as a reminder of those locales which no longer exist and did not find their way onto the album. Focusing on Yusuf Franko and his innovative caricatures, “The Characters of Yusuf Franko: An Ottoman Bureaucrat’s Caricatures” also explores the prominence of the Franko Kusa family within the Ottoman Empire and the history of the caricature genre in Europe. Moreover, the exhibition narrates the album’s long trek through various countries and its return to Beyoğlu. In addition to the album and its contents, relevant photographs, documents, and publications from various collections — especially the Ömer M. Koç Collection — will be featured in the exhibition

In conjunction with the opening, a special two-volume publication containing a book of research articles, Youssouf Bey: The Charged Portraits of Fin-de-Siècle Pera, and a facsimile edition of Yusuf Franko Kusa’s album, Types et Charges, will be available.

Virtual tour of the exhibition at the Çankaya Belediyesi Zülfü Livaneli Kültür Merkezi is available via the link.