Youth seated in the fork of a blossoming tree

Detached album folio: Youth seated in the fork of a blossoming tree looking at an open album.
Border: The painting is set in gold and black rulings, in margins with pseudo Chinese characters, and an outer frame with panels of calligraphy in Persian black nasta’liq script; mounted on paperboard with gold floral motifs.

Historical period(s)
Safavid period, ca. 1560-1570
Medium
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 39.9 x 26.3 cm (15 11/16 x 10 3/8 in)
Geography
Iran, probably Qazvin
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds, Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and Dr. Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1986.299
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Album, Painting
Type

Detached album folio

Keywords
Henri Vever collection, Iran, reading, Safavid period (1501 - 1722), tree, WWII-era provenance, youth
Provenance

Walter Schulz [1]

To 1942
Henri Vever (1854-1942), Paris and Noyers, France, to 1942 [2]

From 1942 to 1986
Family member, Paris and Boulogne, France, by inheritance from Henri Vever, Paris and Noyers, France [3]

From 1986
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from a family member, Paris and Boulogne, France [4]

Notes:

[1] According to information noted in the object record: "Walter Schulz Collection."

[2] See Glenn D. Lowry et al., An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection (Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1988), pp. 302-303, no. 353.

[3] See the Agreement for the Purchase and Sale of the Henri Vever Collection of January 9, 1986, Collections Management Office.

[4] See note 3.

Previous Owner(s)

Philipp Walter Schulz
Henri Vever 1854-1942
Francois Mautin French, born 1907

Description

Detached album folio: Youth seated in the fork of a blossoming tree looking at an open album.
Border: The painting is set in gold and black rulings, in margins with pseudo Chinese characters, and an outer frame with panels of calligraphy in Persian black nasta'liq script; mounted on paperboard with gold floral motifs.

Label

Depictions of young, idealized men in abstracted garden settings became one of the most popular subjects in Persian painting of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The men were usually shown reading, writing, or in quiet contemplation, a theme that also appears in contemporaneous painting from India, such as the adjacent composition. In the Persian version, the "garden" has been reduced to a single flowering tree with large blossoms symbolizing the boy's youth and fragile beauty—a popular artistic convention.

Published References
  • Rene Grousset. The Civilizations of the East. 4 vols., New York and London, 1931-1934. vol. 1: p. 298, fig. 228.
  • Fredrik Robert Martin. The Miniature Painting and Painters of Persia, India, and Turkey from the 8th to the 18th Century. 2 vols., London. vol. 2: pl. 299.
  • Glenn D. Lowry, Milo Cleveland Beach, Elisabeth West FitzHugh, Susan Nemanzee, Janet Snyder. An Annotated and Illustrated Checklist of the Vever Collection. Washington and Seattle. cat. 353, pp. 302-303.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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