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A Collector’s Passion: Ezzat-Malek Soudavar and Persian Lacquer

A Collector’s Passion: Ezzat-Malek Soudavar and Persian Lacquer

$ 30.00

By Massumeh Farhad, Mary McWilliams, and Simon Rettig; with contributions from Farshid Emami, Katherine Eremin, Claire Grech, Bronwen Gulkis, Abolala Soudavar, and Fatema Soudavar Farmanfarmaian

 

ISBN 978-0-934686-41-9
176 pages; 11 1/2 x 9 in.
More than 270 color images
Paperback

Co-published by Freer | Sackler and Harvard Art Museums

Over her lifetime, Ezzat-Malek Soudavar (1913–2014) assembled an exemplary collection of Persian art, including several hundred outstanding examples of lacquerware. Most of the intricately designed book covers, mirror cases, and pen cases, published here for the first time, date from the Qajar era (1785–1925). As a respected collector of Persian art, Mrs. Soudavar appreciated these lacquerworks for both their artistic quality and historical value. As a connoisseur of calligraphy and well versed in the art of penmanship, she cherished the pen cases and boxes for their association with her personal skill and enjoyment of the art of writing.

Abolala Soudavar generously offered his mother’s collection of Persian lacquerware as a gift to the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and to the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C. The catalogue opens with an overview of Mrs.Soudavar’s remarkable life in Iran and her interest in the arts. Other essays address the history and work of major lacquer artists of the Qajar era as well as the materials and techniques of Persian lacquerwork. Twenty highlights from the collection and a fully illustrated checklist complete this introduction to one of the world’s foremost collections of Persian lacquer.

This publication complements the exhibition Technologies of the Image: Art in 19th-Century Iran, on view at the Harvard Art Museums from August 26, 2017 through January 7, 2018.

Massumeh Farhad is Chief Curator and the Ebrahimi Family Curator of Persian, Arab, and Turkish Art at the Freer│Sackler; Mary McWilliams is the Norma Jean Calderwood Curator of Islamic and Later Indian Art at the Harvard Art Museums; Simon Rettig is Assistant Curator of Islamic Art at the Freer│Sackler; Farshid Emami is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University; Katherine Eremin is the Patricia Cornwell Senior Conservation Scientist in the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at the Harvard Art Museums; Claire Grech served as the Australian Conservation Science Fellow in the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at the Harvard Art Museums; Bronwen Gulkis is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University; Abolala Soudavar and Fatema Soudavar Farmanfarmaian are independent scholars.

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