Williams College Museum of Art Presents: Antoin Sevruguin and the Persian Image
Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) will
present Antoin Sevruguin and the Persian Image, an exhibition that offers a
glimpse of turn-of-the-20th century Iran through the eyes of one of that
nation's most creative photographers, Antoin Sevruguin. The exhibition was
organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)
and will be on view at WCMA from January 10 to May 2, 2004.
Antoin Sevruguin (late
Barber Dyeing Nasir al-din Shah's
1890, modern gelatin silver
print made from original, approx. 18 x 22 inches.
Antoin Sevruguin (late 1830s-1933) was a
celebrated photographer of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth century
Iran. He used the relatively new medium of photography to record intriguing
images of Iran, its people, and their culture at a time of significant change.
The exhibition shows how Sevruguin moved effortlessly back and forth between
Iran and Europe, in the process creating a diverse body of photographic work
that oscillates between East and West in its subject matter: veiled women, the
shah, court life, western tourists, common people; and approach: portraiture,
archaeological studies, and architectural street scenes.
Veiled Woman with
1890-1900, modern gelatin silver print made from original,
approx. 18 x 22 inches.
About the Artist
Sevruguin was an Armenian Christian who lived most of his life in Tehran and
traveled among the diverse worlds of Iranian society. Influenced by both Western
and Eastern artistic traditions, Sevruguin brought a new sense of artistry to
Iranian photography. Sevruguin's patronage was equally diverse. He served the
royal court of the shahs and he ran a portrait studio open to the public. He
also journeyed to sites of Persian civilization to photograph the evocative
ruins of the Iranian past, such as the ruins of Persepolis and inscriptions of
the lineage and conquests of the reigns of Darius I and Xerxes
Interior of Guilstan Palace
ca. 1890, modern
digital print made from original, approx. 22 x 27 inches.
Most of Sevruguin's work was destroyed during his
lifetime as a result of the Iranian constitutional crisis of 1906 and the civil
unrest that accompanied the transition from the Qajar to the Pahlavi dynasty.
Today, the Myron Bement Smith Collection of the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler
Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art archives houses one of the world's largest
collections of surviving work-nearly 700 glass plate negatives-by this early
photographer. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and adjacent Freer Gallery of Art
together form the national museum of Asian art at the Smithsonian. Further
information can be found at http://www.asia.si.edu/.
15 Lawrence Hall Drive, Ste 2
Related Exhibitions and Programs
complement this exhibition, WCMA presents Forbidden Image? Persian and
Mughal Painting from the Collection. The exhibition, on view from January
10 to April 25, 2004, examines a common misconception about Islamic art-that
representation of the human figure is strictly forbidden. In actuality, Islamic
art has a long, rich tradition of depicting people. Forbidden Image?
will show that the issue of non-representation is historically a complex and
Forbidden Image? will include 12 Persian and
Mughal paintings and drawings ranging from the 15th to the 19th centuries and
depicting a variety of men and beasts. These works, which represent highlights
of WCMA's Islamic holdings, also reflect Antoin Sevruguin's study of traditional
Persian painting, which influenced his photography work. Forbidden Image?
Persian and Mughal Painting from the Collection was organized by Holly
Edwards, Lecturer in Art at Williams College, with Stefanie Spray Jandl, Andrew
W. Mellon Associate Curator for Academic Programs, in conjunction with Professor
Edwards's art history course, "Forbidden Image?"
Complementing these two
exhibitions is Charles Prendergast and Persian Paintings, also drawn
from WCMA's permanent collection. The five Charles Prendergast (American,
1863-1948) works on view show how Prendergast experimented with stylization,
compression of space, and rich use of gold leaf and color that he so admired in
Charles Prendergast and Persian Paintings was organized
by Ellery Foutch, Curatorial Assistant, with Nancy Matthews, Eugenie Prendergast
Senior Curator of 19th and 20th Century Art and Lecturer in Art.
Frederick Bohrer, curator of Antoin Sevruguin and the Persian Image,
will be giving a gallery talk on Thursday, April 29 at noon at Williams College
Museum of Art in conjunction with Antoin Sevruguin and the Persian
Image. Dr. Bohrer, Associate Professor of Art at Hood College in Frederick,
Maryland, has published widely on the representation of the Near East in the
19th and early 20th centuries. He is also a contributor to, and editor of, the
exhibition's companion publication.
Williams College Museum
t: 413.597.2429 f: 413.458.9017
open tu-sa 10-5, su 1-5
free admission, wheelchair
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