"The women are photographed in what seems like an andaruni or private room. The one in the centre - in more elaborate clothing and lounging on a mukhaddara or a rolled up mattress - is supporting her head on her left palm, leaning against the frame of the window. The other woman, sitting on the left, is wearing a simple black chador and white maghna'a or headscarf and hold her arm to her chest. The two women are positioned diagonally around a Kursi on top of which a mirror is facing the woman on the right. A third and smaller figure, with her face turned away from the camera, appears on the far right side the image, holding the neck of a ghalyan or shaisha. The woman in the centre of the image, though having the mirror in front of her, is looking away from the mirror and into the distance. The rigid pose of the central figure and the careful positioning of her hands in opposite directions signals the artificiality of the setting. The diverted gazes of the two women produce the illusion of the photographer intruding upon an intimate space, the presence of whom remains unnoted by the attendants. The photo is a close relative of another (43.10) in the archives that shows the same three women, this time gathered around the Kursi with one directly engaging the gaze of the camera." [Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Curatorial Research Assistant]
- FSg curatorial research specialist remark on Antoin Sevruguin photo manipulation reads, "There are visible brush marks all over the centre of the image, which might be the results of applying varnish."
- Handwritten number (inked, probably by Antoin Sevruguin) reads, "865."
- Handwritten information on slip of paper (from a 1943-1944 cash book, produced by the Bathni Brothers, Tehran) reads, "63) Persian kursi." [Myron Bement Smith Collection, Subseries 2.1: Islamic Archives History, Collection Information]
- Myron Bement Smith handwritten caption in English reads, "47.P; Box 30.3: Persian kursi (# 63)." [Myron Bement Smith Collection, Subseries 2.1: Islamic Archives History, Collection Information; Box 60; Folder 44: 47 P: Antoine Sevruguin, glass negatives, Iran]
According to Myron B. Smith handwritten document (Myron Bement Smith Collection, Subseries 2.1: Islamic Archives History, Collection Information; Box 60; Folder 44: 47 P Antoine Sevruguin, glass negatives, Iran), Antoin Sevruguin's 696 glass negatives, at the time of their acquisition, were arranged into 61 boxes without any apparent organization. Today they are housed in archival document boxes, essentially duplicating the original arrangement, and stored on shelves. This glass negative was included into "Box 30."
Biographical / Historical:
Antoin Sevruguin is one of the early pioneers of commercial photography in Iran. He arrived in Iran from Tbilisi, Georgia in the mid 1870s to set up shop in Ala al-Dawla street in Tehran. From the early days, Sevruguin's studio was trusted both by the Qajar court and by foreign visitors to Iran. Highly regarded for their artistic ingenuity outside Iran, Sevruguin's photographs of 'ethnic types,' architecture and landscape, and depictions of daily life of Tehran found their way into foreign travelogues, magazines and books. As such, he stands alone in a relatively large group of early Iranian photographers for being recognized and celebrated outside the boundaries of the country. Antoin Sevruguin passed away in 1933, leaving behind only a fraction of his large collection of glass negatives, which is currently in the Archives of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.
FSA A.4 2.12.GN.30.03
Title and summary note are provided by Shabnam Rahimi-Golkhandan, FSg curatorial research specialist.
Collection is open for research.
Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository.
Currently stored in box 3.1.41 , moved from .
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. The original glass plate is available for inspection if necessary in the Archives Center. A limited number of fragile glass negatives and positives in the collection can be viewed directly in the Archives Center by prior appointment. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Jacques Seligmann & Co. records, 1904-1978, bulk 1913-1974. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Processing of the collection was funded by the Getty Grant Program; digitization of the collection was funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.