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Rezan Has: 90 Years of Savoir-Vivre

28 October 2016 – 28 April 2017
Rezan Has Museum

This exhibition will allow you to witness 90 years in the life of Rezan Has, the daughter of Mehmet Bey of the renowned Germirli family of Kayseri and Şehime Yağcızade of Istanbul, the beloved wife of Kadir Has, and the mother of Can, Zekiye, Nuri, Rezzan, and Aleyna. Through the doors we shall open into the vivid world of one of the first ladies of the Republic era, you will encounter a unique selection from the record collection Rezan Has created over a period of 50 years and find the opportunity to observe the impact Western culture had on the social life of Istanbul as part of the modernization attempts of the Turkish Republic after 1923. From the cultural life of the 1950s to the music world of the 1960s, from live orchestras to records and the revival of social life interrupted by consecutive coups as of the 1980s, the exhibition will present to viewers the modern face of the Turkish Republic.

Having immortalized her passion for culture an arts through the eponymous Rezan Has Museum, Rezan Has lent moral and financial support to many individuals and institutions throughout her life. Has contributed significantly to the social and cultural life in Turkey and, along with her husband Kadir Has, spared no efforts to help to those in need in the fields of education, culture, arts, and healthcare. Rezan Has continues her philanthropic endeavors through the “Kadir Has Foundation” she co-founded with her husband in 1991.

With the utmost respect and appreciation we hold for Rezan Has, we are thrilled to present to you the bright face of the Turkish female in the exhibition entitled, Rezan Has: 90 Years of Savoir-Vivre.

Rezan Germirli Has

Rezan Has was born in Istanbul in 1927 as the daughter of mother from Istanbul and a father from Kayseri.

Her mother was from the Yağcızâde Family, one of the prominent residents of the Kanlıca neighborhood in Istanbul. Her father, on the other hand, was Mehmet Bey of the famous Germirli Family of Kayseri. “Donanma Cemiyeti” or the charitable Naval Association Şehime Hanım’s grandfather Yağcızade Şefik Bey founded in 1909 by donating the revenues he obtained from his commercial endeavors at Balkapanı Han contributed significantly towards the Ottoman Navy. Through the support he provided for the Naval Association dissolved in 1919 as well as the Ottoman Navy, Şefik Bey was awarded a medal by Sultan Reşad and served as a board member at the Chamber of Commerce and Ziraat Bankası for seven and three years, respectively. Mehmet Bey’s father İmamzade Ali Efendi Ağa, on the other hand, was one of the most charitable and philanthropic people in Kayseri.

Rezan Germirli spent her childhood between the Kanlıca neighborhood of Istanbul, the central town of Kayseri, and its neighboring town of Germir. As the second of five children in the Germirli Family, Rezan Germirli went to primary school in Kayseri and received her secondary school education as a boarding student at the Kandilli High School for Girls in Istanbul.

Rezan Hanım’s childhood coincided with the years in which the newly founded Turkish Republic was at its infancy as well. On May 29th of 1927, the year in which Rezan Hanım was born, the Ankara-Kayseri railway was put into operation. As a milestone in the history of Turkish railways and the first line to be financed by the Republic, this particular track marked a turning point in the development of Kayseri.

In 1942, Rezan Germirli crossed paths with Kadir Has, son of one of the leading families in Kayseri. Choosing to tie the knot in a simple ceremony, Rezan and Kadir Has donated the anticipated expenses of the wedding party they chose not to have to the Turkish Aeronautical Association and thus set the first example of their philanthropic endeavors that became institutionalized in the ensuing years and earned the respect and appreciation of the entire country.

Rezan and Kadir Has lived in Adana between 1942 and 1960. In the post-war period, private initiatives and industrial activities began to increase as the young Turkish Republic proceeded to develop and expand its trade. The Progress Plan of 1947 was based on and encompassed the fields of agriculture, energy, mining, and industry. Rezan Hanım was a pillar of support behind her husband Kadir Has, who engaged himself in business during these years.
The couple moved to Istanbul in 1960. Soon becoming one of the leading families of Turkey in this atmosphere of progress, Rezan and Kadir Has shared the same sensitivities and foresight; the determination “pay back” their earnings they considered “a loan from the country” led the couple to establish a foundation in 1991.

Rezan Has touched countless lives through a number of schools, dormitories, sports facilities, cultural centers, and healthcare institutions established through Kadir Has Foundation across the country from Kayseri to Ağrı and Bitlis to Muş. Young minds trained in these institutions made invaluable contributions towards the shaping of Turkey’s modern image.

70 years after her birth, Rezan Has and her partner-in-life Kadir Has, took over the Cibali Tobacco Factory, one of the most significant landmarks of the industrial heritage of Turkey, and transformed this historic venue into a leading institution of higher education.

In 1997, the Has Family brought to life their greatest aspiration in the field of education through the founding of Kadir Has University. At the end of the first decade of its inauguration, a museum in Rezan Hanım’s name was founded on campus. A testimony to Rezan Hanım’s philanthropic nature that embraces and supports with equal interest and love, all realms of art, and most notably the history, culture, and traditions of Anatolia, Rezan Has Museum has become one of the most important representatives of private museums in Turkey since its establishment.

In addition to her initiatives in education and culture, as well as her active participation in charitable organizations, Has has always been in the forefront of the country’s social life. As one of the most prominent ladies of the first generation nurtured by the Republic, Rezan Has sets the bar high with her family values and endeavors not only for her own generation, but also for women of subsequent generations as well.

With her refined taste, her modesty and willingness to share what she possesses, and her endless faith in her family and the young generations of this country, Rezan Has epitomizes the shining face of the modern Turkish woman.

We are proud to share -albeit a small portion of- her immense faith in and dedication to music, art, and education through the exhibition we have on display for our visitors at this eponymous museum.

With our deepest feelings of respect and gratitude for Rezan Has,