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Reuniting a Collection

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) Nicholas V. Artamonoff online exhibit

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives  of the Smithsonian Institution has generously allowed us to share 477 photographs by Nicholas V. Artamonoff through ICFA’s online exhibit. These images capture Ottoman monuments, cityscapes, and daily life in Istanbul during the 1930s and 1940s. The photographs also include images of other Turkish cities, including: Bergama, Bursa, Izmir, Selçuk, and Yalova. We are very pleased to announce the incorporation of this additional portion of Artamonoff's work to the Nicholas V. Artamonoff Collection website. In bringing these two pieces of the same oeuvre together digitally, we have gained a more complete understanding of Artamonoff's photographic interests and artistic style.

Artamonoff: Istanbul Street View
Istanbul street view with the Galata Tower from the Northeast. Myron Bement Smith Collection, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
In 2011, when ICFA staff began investigating the Artamonoff photographs in its collections, Shalimar White, Manager of ICFA, discovered that another portion of Artamonoff's work was contained in the Freer and Sackler Archives' Myron Bement Smith Collection. David Hogge, Archivist for the Freer and Sackler Archives, and volunteers digitized these photographs in 2011 and 2012. Beginning in the fall of 2012, the photographs were identified by William J. Harper, ICFA intern and graduate student in the Department of Archaeology and History of Art at Koç University in Istanbul. An account of Harper's work, and the interesting discoveries he made along the way, can be read on ICFA’s blog, “Following in the Footsteps of Nicholas Artamonoff.”

The online exhibit now includes all 1,019 Artamonoff photographs, along with 124 photos that are thought to belong to Artamonoff. The images have been grouped by their parent repository and then by site or building. They can be browsed individually, by site, or by descriptive keywords (tags). The website also includes information about the project and a short biography of the photographer.

The project to research and share Artamonoff’s life and photography continues as we prepare an exhibit of the Nicholas V. Artamonoff Collection. In partnership with the Research Center for Anatolian Studies (RCAC) at Koç University and the International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium, Günder Varinlioğlu and Alyssa DesRochers are co-curating an exhibit entitled Picturing Byzantine Istanbul: The Photographic Puzzle of Nicholas V. Artamonoff (1908–1989), which will open at RCAC in Istanbul in June 2013.

Any comments, suggestions, or questions are welcomed and appreciated. Please contact us at icfa@doaks.org.

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