News ID: 204969
Published: 0305 GMT November 25, 2017

Exclusive Qajar era art on show at Harvard museum

Exclusive Qajar era art on show at Harvard museum
Courtesy Elmar Seibel/Harvard Art Museums
The Persian Family, Switzerland, Zurich, 1904–12. Chromolithograph (photochrome). Collection of Azita Bina and Elmar W. Seibel, TL41579.9.

Harvard Art Museum in the US is presenting notable and never before seen works of the Qajar era in an exhibition called 'Technologies of the Image: Art in 19th-Century Iran'.

The exhibition will be held through January 7, 2018.

The 19th century Iran is marked as an age of intensate image-making. With the unfolding of the new century, the new Qajar dynasty sought unification of the country that was torn apart by decades of civil war, Blouin Artinfo wrote.

It was at the same time that the intrusion of outside world on Iranian affairs was widening. The expansionist ambitions and technological advances of European powers brought Westerners to Iran and, to a later and lesser extent, drew Iranians to the West.


Courtesy Elmar Seibel/Harvard Art Museums

Nassereddin Shah Qajar (the Iranian King from 5 September 1848 to 1 May 1896) 


This unusual development in Iran and their exposure beyond the country stimulated and challenged the inventive genius of Persian artists.

Artists mastered new image-making technologies and assimilated an inrush of pictorial material from abroad into their traditional art forms.


Courtesy Elmar Seibel/Harvard Art Museums

Mirror Case with Flowers and Birds


'Technologies of the Image' brings together four principal art forms of 19th century Iran — lacquer, lithography, photography, and painting and drawing on paper.

The exhibition aims to explore the separate and intertwined histories of these art forms, the contexts of production, and means of distribution across the various strata of society.

The exhibition also has on showcase, almost 80 artworks, most of which have never been exhibited before. It includes illustrated books, album folios, pen boxes, mirror cases, single-sheet painted and printed images, and photographs.

Several of these objects are on loan from collections within Harvard University and other private and public collections in the United States and abroad.

Notable masters of the Qajar era such as Abu al-Hasan Ghaffari Sani' al-Mulk, Antoin Sevruguin, Mobarak Mirza Mahmud, Mirza Ali Quli Khaw'i, Mohammad Isma'il, Mohammadreza Imami, and members of the Najaf Ali circle of lacquer artists are represented in the exhibition.

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