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Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Oakland, CA, 1893; d. Shiraz, Iran, 25 Jan. 1977).

American historian of Iranian art. While studying mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, Ackerman met and eventually married Arthur Upham Pope, with whom she had taken courses in philosophy and aesthetics. In 1926 she and Pope organized the first ever exhibition of Persian art at the Pennsylvania Museum and helped create the First International Congress of Oriental Art. In 1930 Ackerman was stricken with polio but taught herself to walk again. They were instrumental in preparing the 1931 Persian Art Exhibition at Burlington House, London, and the Second International Congress of Iranian Art and Archaeology, as well as the Third Congress in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1935 and the exhibition of Iranian art at the Iranian Institute in New York in 1940. She visited Iran for the first time in 1964, when the shah of Iran invited Pope to revive the Asia Institute; it was associated with Pahlavi University in Shiraz until ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Istanbul, June 11, 1938).

American historian of Islamic art. Atıl earned her PhD at the University of Michigan, with a dissertation on an illustrated Ottoman Book of Festivals. In 1970 she was appointed Curator of Islamic Art at the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, a post that she held for 15 years. An extraordinarily energetic and prolific curator, she organized many notable exhibitions based on the Freer collection as well as traveling exhibitions of Mamluk art, the age of Süleyman the Magnificent, and of the Kuwait collection of Islamic art. Between 1985 and 1987, Dr. Atıl was Guest Curator at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. With the opening of the Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute in 1987, she was appointed Historian of Islamic Art at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, a position she held until her retirement in 1993.

E. Atıl: 2500 Years of Persian Art (Washington, DC, 1971)E. Atıl...

Article

Eleanor Sims

(b Frankfurt am Main, Feb 5, 1906; d Princeton, NJ, April 2, 1979).

American curator and art historian of German birth. He received his PhD in Arabic from the University of Frankfurt in 1931 with a dissertation on Koranic references to anti-paganism. His first position (1931–3) was as assistant to Ernst Kühnel in the Islamic Department of the Berlin Museum. In 1933 he left Germany to study for a year in London and then moved to the United States. As a research associate with the American Institute of Persian Art and Archaeology, he worked as an author and editor for A Survey of Persian Art; much of his later research focused on the arts of Iran. He taught at the University of Michigan (1938–44) and then moved to the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, where he was Associate in Near Eastern Art (1944–58), Curator (1958–61) and Head Curator (1961–7). The Freer collection of Near Eastern Art, both Islamic and pre-Islamic, and many other collections of Islamic art were shaped by his eye and his advice. He was a consultant for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the L. A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem and was Consultative Chairman of the Islamic Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b Strasbourg, Nov 3, 1929; d Princeton, NJ, Jan 8, 2011).

American historian of Islamic art. The son of the Byzantinist André Grabar, Oleg Grabar studied at the University of Paris, Harvard and Princeton, where he received his Ph.D. in 1955. He began his teaching career at the University of Michigan in 1954 and taught at Harvard from 1969, where he was named Aga Khan Professor in 1980. A decade later he was appointed to the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, from which he retired in 1998. He, along with Richard Ettinghausen, was largely responsible for the post-World War II explosion of interest in the study of Islamic art and the training of many scholars and teachers. Initially focused on the architecture of the Umayyad period and the excavation of the Syrian site of Qasr al-Hayr East, Grabar’s interests quickly burgeoned to encompass an unusually wide range of subjects, including how Islamic art developed out of and transformed earlier traditions, the city of Jerusalem and its monuments, Arabic and Persian illustrated manuscripts, Islamic palaces, the nature of ornament, as well as the practice of architecture in the Islamic world today. Many of his writings explored the theoretical aspects of Islamic art and its study....

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Phoenix, RI, Feb 7, 1881; d Warren, CT, Sept 3, 1969).

American art historian and archaeologist. He was educated at Brown and Cornell universities and taught at the University of California and Amherst College. In 1920 he married Phyllis Ackerman, who shared his scholarly interests in Persian art. By 1923 he was director of the San Francisco Museum. In 1925 he began research in Iran and from that year acted as art adviser to the Iranian government. From 1930 he was director of the American Institute for Iranian Art and Archaeology (subsequently renamed Iranian, then Asia, Institute and transferred to Pahlavi University of Shiraz). He lectured widely and organized various exhibitions and congresses of Persian art in the USA, Great Britain, and Russia. His greatest achievement was editing the multi-volume Survey of Persian Art. In 1939 he was chairman of the Committee for Chinese War Orphans and from 1940 to 1948 chairman of the Committee for National Morale. From 1960 he was president of the International Association of Iranian Art and Archaeology. In ...

Article

Yuka Kadoi

(b Welland, Ont., Aug 15, 1916; d Ashville, NY, Aug 13, 1992).

American art historian , specializing in medieval Islamic textiles. Having studied at the University of Michigan under Mehmet Ağa-Oğlu and R. Ettinghausen (BA 1939; MA 1940), Shepherd enrolled at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University to conduct further research on Hispano-Islamic textiles. In 1942 she joined the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration where she was in charge of its textile collection. After an interruption of her scholarly career during World War II when she served for the Office of War Information in London and Luxembourg and the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Division of the United States Military Government in Frankfurt and Berlin, she joined the Cleveland Museum of Art as Associate Curator of Textiles in 1947 and became Curator of Textiles in 1952. In 1955 she was appointed as Curator of Near Eastern Art and Adjunct Professor of Near Eastern Art at Case Western Reserve University, also in Cleveland. She became Chief Curator of Textiles and Islamic Art in ...