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Iran Opens First Museum Dedicated to a Single Female Artist

A museum celebrating the oeuvre of Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian is set to open in Tehran on Friday, December 15. The institution will showcase fifty works from the ninety-three-year-old artist’s personal collection. It is the first museum in Iran dedicated to the work of a single female artist.

The Monir Museum is located in the historic Negarestan Museum Park Gardens, a former Qajar-era palace complex. Its collection includes the artist’s signature reverse glass painting and mirror mosaic works, which reference Islamic art and geometry, several pieces from her “Heartache” series, sculptural boxes made of mixed collages, and photographs, prints, and other objects that she made in New York in the 1990s, following the death of her husband, Abolbashar Farmanfarmaian.

“It is an honor for Monir to be recognized in her country of origin with the establishment of this new institution,” a spokesperson of the Third Line gallery in Dubai, which represents the artist, told the Art Newspaper. “It is unprecedented in Iran.”

Born in the ancient Persian capital of Qazvin in 1924, Farmanfarmaian first came to New York for art school in 1945. She spent most of her career living and working in Iran, but was forced to leave with her husband during the Islamic Revolution in 1979. She would later learn that her art collection, made up of pieces by Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, and Tom Wesselmann, as well as much of her own work, had been seized. The artist had her first New York retrospective, “Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Infinite Possibility. Mirror Works and Drawings 1974–2014,” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2015.