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Article

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

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....

Article

Dennis Raverty

(b Tehran, Jul 10, 1939).

American sculptor of Iranian birth. Armajani studied in Iran at the University of Tehran before immigrating to the USA in 1960 to complete his studies in philosophy at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, where he settled permanently. He became a naturalized US citizen in 1967. Armajani used the language of vernacular architecture in his sculpture to create spaces into which the viewer moves, sometimes being literally surrounded by the sculpture. Cellar doors, back stairways, loading docks, benches, bridges, porches, gazebos, and other such homely architectural elements are the inspiration for his sculptures and installations. Early in Armajani’s career he was on the faculty of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where he lectured on philosophy and conceptual art, but he left teaching in 1975 to concentrate exclusively on his sculpture.

Armajani stated repeatedly that his intention was to create a “neighborly” space, that is, a space that brings people together. His public sculpture is perhaps best thought of as social sculpture, in the sense meant by postwar German artist Joseph Beuys: a community-seeking, politically progressive, public art. Armajani’s many commissions include the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge in Minneapolis (...

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

S. J. Vernoit

(b New York, Feb 7, 1875; d Monaco, Jan 19, 1968).

British mining consultant and collector of American birth. He was educated at the Columbia School of Mines and at Princeton University; by the age of 28 he was the consulting engineer and assistant general manager of the Guggenheim Exploration Company. In 1913, two years after the death of his first wife, he settled in London and became established as a mining consultant. He married Edith Dunn and bought Baroda House in Kensington Palace Gardens. With one of his associates, Herbert Hoover, later President of the USA (1929–33), he reorganized the Kyshtin mine in the Urals. The Selection Trust Ltd, which he established in 1914 to develop and finance profitable mines throughout the world, made great headway after World War I, and he remained its chairman until 1960. He was naturalized as a British citizen in 1933. In his youth he began collecting a range of items, including Western manuscripts and Chinese snuff bottles, but his main passion was collecting Islamic manuscripts and paintings, early Bibles and rare books, Impressionist paintings, French and Russian gold snuffboxes, 18th-century watches, clocks, and stamps. His interest in the Islamic arts of the book, particularly manuscripts of the Koran, was stimulated by frequent visits to Cairo, where he wintered between the wars. Although he had no knowledge of Arabic, Persian, or Turkish, he was keen to give scholars access to his collection and loaned manuscripts to many exhibitions. In ...

Article

Annemarie Weyl Carr

(b Berlin, Aug 11, 1909; d London, Nov 10, 1996).

German scholar of Byzantine, East Christian and European illuminated manuscripts. He took his degree in 1933 at the University of Hamburg in the heady community of the Warburg Library (later Institute) under the tutelage of Erwin Panofsky and Fritz Saxl. Immigrating with the Warburg staff and library to London in 1934, he served from 1940 to 1949 as the Institute’s Librarian and from 1944 to 1965 as Lecturer, Reader and then Professor of Byzantine art at the University of London. In 1965 he came to the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, becoming in 1970 the first Ailsa Mellon Bruce Professor. He retired in 1975 to London, where he died in 1996.

Buchthal is best known for his Miniature Painting in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1957), which laid the foundation for the now well-established art-historical field of Crusader studies. It exemplifies both his originality and the methods that made his scholarship so durable. Fundamental among these were his holistic approach to manuscripts, giving as much attention to ornament, liturgical usage, text traditions, palaeography and apparatus as to miniatures, and his relentlessly keen visual analysis. Aided by a powerful memory, he worked from original monuments, developing exceptional acuity in dissecting the formal components of their images. Mobilized in his dissertation, published in ...

Article

(b 1892; d 1986).

American curator. He studied under Josef Strzygowski at the University of Vienna, where he earned a PhD in 1916, writing a thesis on Coptic tapestries, particularly those in the museum of the University of Lund, Sweden. In 1923 he joined the staff of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City as a research assistant in the Egyptian department, charged with cataloguing Coptic textiles. In 1925 he was put in charge of the new subdepartment for Islamic art in the Department of Decorative Arts, and in 1932 he became Associate Curator of Near Eastern Art. He became the first full Curator of Near Eastern Art in 1933, a position he held until retirement in 1959. Dimand developed a special interest in Islamic textiles, particularly carpets, and he catalogued the important James F. Ballard collection of carpets in St Louis, as well as negotiating gifts of carpets to the museum by such collectors as ...

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

Milo Cleveland Beach

(b Bombay, 1902; d New York, 1971).

American dealer of Indian birth. Following the decline of the family textile business, his father, Munchersa Heeramaneck, became an antiquities dealer and shrewdly developed a speciality in Chinese ceramics. As a youth, Nasli was assigned to the New Delhi office, but in 1922 he was sent to Paris to study and open a branch. He soon moved to New York, which became the final location for Heeramaneck Galleries. In 1939 Heeramaneck married Alice Arvine, an American portrait painter from New Haven, and she became an active partner in the business. They were responsible for the acquisition of many great works of Indian, Tibetan and Nepali sculpture, Mughal and Rajput painting, Ancient Near Eastern and Islamic art, and Central Asian (including nomadic) art by major American museums. They also formed a comprehensive private collection of South Asian art, including superlative paintings and sculptures from the Himalayan regions, and a smaller collection of ancient Near Eastern and Islamic art, both purchased by the ...

Article

David M. Sokol

(b Russian Poland, April 10, 1872; d New York, July 26, 1946).

American painter of Russian-Polish origin. He claimed to have carved wooden ceremonial objects as a young boy, but ceased to create until he retired from his clothing manufacturing concern and began to paint. When Sidney Janis was arranging an exhibition of American folk art for the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, in 1939, he saw Hirshfield’s naive works in a gallery in New York. He exhibited two in the show and organized a one-man show for the artist in 1943; he also purchased two works, including Beach Girl (1937; New York, MOMA). In such paintings Hirshfield based large areas of the overall design on the fabrics with which he worked during his years in business, and his outlined forms on the art of patternmaking. In this and slightly later works, such as Inseparable Friends (1941; New York, MOMA), an ambiguous treatment of young female sexuality is played off against the patterns and the repetition of forms....

Article

Barbara Stoler Miller

(b Nikolsburg, Austria [now Mikulov in the Czech Republic], 1896; d Philadelphia, PA, Aug 31, 1993).

Austrian art historian, teacher, and museum curator, active in India and the USA. Her published writings begin with her PhD dissertation on early Buddhist art (1919), written at the University of Vienna under the supervision of Josef Strzygowski. In 1921 she went to India at the invitation of Rabindranath Tagore (see Tagore family §(1)) to teach at his school at Santiniketan. She remained for 30 years as a professor at the University of Calcutta. During her tenure she edited the Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, to which she contributed numerous articles on every period of architecture, sculpture, and painting, as well as on folk and contemporary art. Her researches culminated in The Hindu Temple (1946), which she characterized as ‘the sum total of architectural rites performed on the basis of its myth’. The work analyses the Hindu temple conceptually, locating its structural principles in ancient Vedic ritual and texts, as well as in Sanskrit treatises on architecture....

Article

Joan Kee

(b Taichung, Feb 16, 1964).

Taiwanese conceptual artist, active also in the USA. Lee spent his childhood in Taichung, where he studied Chan Buddhism from the age of eight. At 12, Lee spent time among Taiwanese expatriates in the Dominican Republic, and two years later moved to the USA, where he later studied biology at the University of Washington, Seattle. He transferred, however, to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA, where he focused on architecture and textiles (1993). During this time, Lee made work that originated from personal memories, such as One Hundred Days with Lily (1995), which he started after his grandmother’s death. This work was a long-term endeavour documenting the life cycle of a lily that Lee took with him as he went about his daily activities in San Francisco.

After graduating from Oakland, Lee went on to receive a master’s degree in sculpture from the Yale School of Art. At Yale, Lee expanded upon his interest in interpersonal communication, which resulted in the production of works such as ...

Article

Mormons  

Paul L. Anderson

[Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints]

Religious sect. Mormonism was founded in 1830 in a farmhouse near Fayette, NY, by Joseph Smith jr (1805–44), who declared that he had been called by God as a modern prophet to restore Christianity in its purity. The name was taken from the Book of Mormon, a companion scripture to the Bible, narrating the religious history of an ancient American people who were visited by the resurrected Christ; this was translated from golden plates and published by Smith in 1830. A central teaching of the Church was that members should gather to the American frontier to build the City of Zion in preparation for Christ’s millennial reign. Attempts to build latter-day Zion aroused violent opposition in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, culminating in the assassination (1844) of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith. In 1847 Brigham Young (1801–77), Smith’s successor as president and prophet, founded ...

Article

Walter B. Denny

(b Cleveland, OH, Sept 10, 1875; d Washington, DC, Dec 23, 1957).

American collector. An heir to the Bristol–Myers pharmaceutical fortune, Myers began collecting Oriental carpets while an undergraduate at Yale University, New Haven, CT. He began to collect seriously from 1909, and in 1925 he founded The Textile Museum, housed in the residence that John Russell Pope had designed for him in Washington, DC, and the adjacent structure. His collection then comprised 275 carpets, and he continued to enrich the museum until his death, when it included some 500 carpets and thousands of textiles. Avoiding in large part the acquisition of then fashionable and costly showpieces, Myers built a collection of historical and traditional textiles from Asia, Islamic North Africa and Spain, and Central and South America that is virtually without parallel in its richness, quality, and importance to scholars.

S. P. Collins: ‘George Hewitt Myers, 1875–1957’, Hali, 27 (1985), pp. 6–7 M. McWilliams: ‘One Man’s Romance with Fiber Created the Textile Museum’, ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Qazvin, Iran, March 26, 1957).

American photographer and video artist of Iranian birth. She studied at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was awarded a BFA in 1979 and an MFA in 1982. She became involved in the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York when she was unable to return to Iran for political reasons. Years later, having settled in New York, she began making art in response to the situation she found after a visit to the post-Shah religious state. Using the Islamic veil, or chador, she made photographs that examined stereotypes of Muslim women as oppressed by the veil but also empowered by their refusal of the Western colonial gaze, as in Women of Allah (1993–7) and Rebellious Silence (1994; see 2000 exh. cat., p. 61). In these works Neshat is often posed with a gun, her image overlaid in Islamic script, as a way of confronting the Western view of Islam as both incomprehensible and dangerous. In ...

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

Noémie Goldman and Kim Oosterlinck

Term for the return of lost or looted cultural objects to their country of origin, former owners, or their heirs. The loss of the object may happen in a variety of contexts (armed conflicts, war, colonialism, imperialism, or genocide), and the nature of the looted cultural objects may also vary, ranging from artworks, such as paintings and sculptures, to human remains, books, manuscripts, and religious artefacts. An essential part of the process of restitution is the seemingly unavoidable conflict around the transfer of the objects in question from the current to the former owners. Ownership disputes of this nature raise legal, ethical, and diplomatic issues. The heightened tensions in the process arise because the looting of cultural objects challenges, if not breaks down, relationships between peoples, territories, cultures, and heritages.

The history of plundering and art imperialism may be traced back to ancient times. Looting has been documented in many instances from the sack by the Romans of the Etruscan city of Veii in ...

Article

Santos  

James Cordova and Claire Farago

Term that refers to handmade paintings and sculptures of Christian holy figures, crafted by artists from the Hispanic and Lusophone Americas. The term first came into widespread use in early 20th-century New Mexico among English-speaking art collectors to convey a sense of cultural authenticity. Throughout the Americas, the term imagenes occurs most frequently in Spanish historical documents. Santos are usually painted on wood panels (retablos) or carved and painted in the round (bultos). Reredos, or altarpieces, often combine multiple retablos and bultos within a multi-level architectural framework.

European Christian imagery was circulated widely through the Spanish viceroyalties in the form of paintings, sculptures, and prints, the majority of which were produced in metropolitan centres such as Mexico City, Antigua, Lima, and Puebla, where European- and American-born artists established guilds and workshops. These became important sources upon which local artists elsewhere based their own traditions of religious image-making using locally available materials such as buffalo hides, vegetal dyes, mineral pigments, and yucca fibres, commonly employed by native artists long before European contact....

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 ...