Ibrahim Calli was born in Denizli, Turkey in July of 1882. In his youth he showed a great deal of interest in drawing and painting during his grade school years. As he grew older his family urged him to pursue his desire to paint, and so Calli left for Istanbul in 1899 for further art education.
In Turkey, Calli had to work several jobs in order to sustain himself while he continued to paint. His spare time was filled with drawing lessons in the Great Bazaar from fellow artist Roben Efendi.
Calli was admitted into the Fine Arts School in Istanbul in 1906 and graduated in a timely four years. Freshly free from school Calli was sent to France on a government grant. This placed him in a very hip and happening time in the French art scene. The Fauvs where hugely successful and the Braque/ Picasso duo were about to unveil analytical cubism. Despite all of these exciting advancements in art, Calli dedicated himself to studying the works of the impressionist masters.
At the start of WWI, Calli packed his things and returned home and continued to work as a painter as well as a teacher at the Fine Arts School from which he had graduated.