The Qajar period is perhaps not as
widely known to the general public as other periods of Iran’s history, but
in October 1998 one of the first exhibitions on the arts of this
period, Royal Persian Paintings: the Qajar Epoch, 1785-1925, was
organised at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, curated by Layla Diba. The
following year, the exhibition travelled to London under the auspices of the
Iran Heritage Foundation, and took place at SOAS (6 July - 30 September, 1999).
It included over a hundred objects, such as paintings, manuscripts and works on
paper, including loans from Iran. The exhibition at SOAS was accompanied
by several conferences and events sponsored by IHF.
London was the only venue outside of the USA for this groundbreaking
exhibition, which generated the subsequent interest in the arts of the 18th and
19th century Iran. Two decades later, in March 2018, the first major exhibition in continental
Europe dedicated to Qajar art opened at the Louvre-Lens,
entitled The Rose Empire: Masterpieces of Persian Art from the 19th
Century. You can watch this guide to the exhibition by curator
Gwenaëlle Fellinger (in French), as well as this report in Persian, and read this article written by Dr Sussan
Babaie. This impressive exhibition was part of an important cultural exchange between the Louvre and the
National Museum of Iran and opened simultaneously with The Louvre in
Tehran, a major exhibition, which retraced the
creation of the Louvre’s collections and included some of its masterpieces.
This exhibition, organised in partnership with IHF, coincided
with the 80th anniversary of the National Museum of Iran.