Collecting the Mideast in the American Midwest: Dikran Kelekian (1867-1951) and the Cincinnati Art Museum's Islamic Collection

In the early years of the twentieth century the dealer Dikran Kelekian assembled a large group of ceramics from Iran and other Middle Eastern territories. This group was housed from 1911 onwards as a long-term loan at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, becoming an iconic and pedigreed collection through its publication and display. After a legal dispute between the V&A and Kelekian's heirs resolved in the latter's favor, most of the collection was shipped to the US in 1952, with one of the largest portions now in the Cincinnati Art Museum. This talk will use archival documents and the objects themselves to explore these remarkable premodern ceramics and their passage through the modern art market.

Margaret S. Graves is Associate Professor of Islamic art in the department of Art History at Indiana University. She received a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 2010 for her research on the plastic arts of the medieval Islamic world, and her research has been supported by the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the British Academy, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council of Great Britain, amongst others. Her 2018 monograph Arts of Allusion: Object, Ornament and Architecture in Medieval Islam (Oxford University Press) was awarded the 2019 Annual Book Prize from the International Center of Medieval Art and the 2021 Karen Gould Prize in Art History from the Medieval Academy of America.

You may view a recording of her presentation here.

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