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Art & Patronage:
The Middle East
Eisler Foundation Edition

Editor: Hossein Amirsadeghi
Executive editor: Maryam Homayoun Eisler
Essays: Layla Diba, Anthony Downey, Hans Ulrich Obrist
Hardback, 34 x 25 cm, 320 pp.
550 illustrations

In the Middle East, arts patronage boasts a long and illustrious history. The artistic heritage of the royal and noble families of Persia, Egypt, Assyria, Mesopotamia and the Ottoman Empire is remarkable. No world museum of ancient art is complete without examples of Persian miniatures and carpets, Syrian metalwork, Egyptian lustreware, Mesopotamian figurines, Ottoman silks, Iznik pottery.

The splendid courts of Suleiman the Magnificent and Shah Abbas the Great are no longer, but collecting and patronage in the region today are enjoying a phenomenal rebirth. Aficionados are aware and knowledgeable – with astonishingly diverse collections: contemporary art to Orientalist painting, traditional Islamic miniatures to pottery and earthenware, maps and manuscripts to religious icons, often displayed in new, state-of-the-art museums, private or public, while new foundations further knowledge.

Art & Patronage: The Middle East is the first attempt to capture this rich vitality. Profiling 102 leading collectors, patrons, institutions and foundations, it offers an intimate glimpse of their collections, exploring the inspired motivation and passion that is shaping the new cultural landscape of the Middle East and preserving past glories for future generations.

Art is a journey of self-discovery. Art & Patronage: The Middle East demonstrates that creative promotion – through foundations, museums, scholarship, corporate collections – is crucial for society's cultural renewal. As befits the subject, the book is produced to lavish standards. TransGlobe Publishing has already made a name for groundbreaking large-format illustrated books, dealing especially with Near and Middle Eastern culture. Recent titles include Different Sames: New Perspectives in Contemporary Iranian Art; New Vision: Arab Contemporary Art in the 21st Century; and Unleashed: Contemporary Art from Turkey.

Art & Patronage: The Middle East illustrates the art of cultural patronage through the practical and aesthetic viewpoints of those collectors and patrons whose life work is creating change within the region and across its Diasporas.

Hossein Amirsadeghi is a writer, publisher, editor and documentary filmmaker based in Europe. He has written, edited and published many books on Iran and Middle Eastern culture, including Twentieth-Century Iran, The Arts of Persia, Different Sames: New Perspectives in Contemporary Iranian Art, New Vision: Arab Contemporary Art in the 21st Century, Unleashed: Contemporary Art from Turkey and Istanbul Contrasts. He is currently working on contemporary art books on Britain, Russia and Pakistan.

Layla Diba is an independent scholar, art advisor and curator. She has been director and chief curator of the Negarestan Museum in Tehran (1975–79), art advisor for the Private Secretariat of Empress Farah Pahlavi of Iran, Hagop Kevorkian Curator of Islamic Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and advisor to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum. In addition to her many articles, her publications include Royal Persian Paintings: The Qajar Epoch (1785-1925) (1998) and Qumish: Turkoman Silver Ornaments from the Marshall and Marilyn Wolf Collection (forthcoming). 

Anthony Downey sits on the Editorial Board of Third Text and is the Programme Director of the Contemporary Art Master's Programme at Sotheby's Institute of Art, London. He has featured in a number of documentaries for the BBC and CNN and has published essays, criticism and interviews in books and journals, including Aperture, Third Text, Brumaria, Canvas, Art Monthly, New York Arts Magazine and Apollo. He is currently writing a book on aesthetics, ethics, and politics and is developing a web-based research project on the MENA region.

Maryam Homayoun Eisler holds a BA from Wellesley College and an MBA from Columbia University. Currently co-chair of the Tate Middle East North Africa Acquisition Committee, Eisler was the curatorial director for Different Sames: New Perspectives in Contemporary Iranian Art and executive editor for Unleashed: Contemporary Art from Turkey. She is currently engaged in developing a book on British contemporary artists.

Hans Ulrich Obrist is Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery, London. Formerly he was Curator of the Musèe d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, curator of museum in progress, Vienna, from 1993 to 2000, and has curated and co-curated over 200 solo and group exhibitions and biennales internationally. In 2009 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He has many publications to his name including The Conversation Series (2006–10), Hans Ulrich Obrist: Interviews (vol. 1, 2003; vol. 2, 2010) and A Brief History of Curating (2008)

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