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Arthur Upham Pope (1881–1969)
Arthur Upham Pope (1881–1969)

Arthur Upham Pope was an archaeologist and historian of Persian art. He graduated from Brown University in 1904 and remained on the faculty to teach philosophy. He attended graduate school at Brown, Cornell, and Harvard universities and taught art history at the University of California between 1910 and 1917. In 1923, Pope was appointed director of the San Francisco Museum. Two years later, he went to Iran to complete research and to serve as an art advisor to the Iranian government. He organized an exhibition and the First International Congress on Persian Art in Philadelphia in 1926. In 1928, he founded the American Institute for Persian Art and Archaeology (later the American Institute for Iranian Art and Archaeology and ultimately the Asia Institute) in New York City. During much of this time, he supported himself by consulting on Persian art acquisitions by museums and private collectors. Beginning in 1938, Pope and his wife, Phyllis Ackerman, edited the multivolume A Survey of Persian Art, from Prehistoric Times to the Present (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1964–1965). The International Association of Iranian Art elected him president in 1960. He and his wife settled in Itran, Iran, where he suffered a heart attack and died in 1969. He was buried in Isfahan, Iran, where, by the shah's order, a special mausoleum was erected.

 

“Arthur Pope, 88, Expert on Iran, Leading Authority on Old Persian Culture, Dies,” New York Times, September 4, 1969.

Jay Gluck, Noël Siver, and Sumi Hiramoto Gluck, eds., Surveyors of Persian Art: A Documentary Biography of Arthur Upham Pope and Phyllis Ackerman (Ashiya, Japan: SoPA, 1996), esp. 601–38.