Iran rejects U.S. National Gallery of Art’s request for Gauguin painting

April 22, 2009 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMCA) recently turned down a request from the National Gallery of Art in Washington for a loan of a Paul Gauguin still life for an exhibition.

The request was rejected by the Office for Visual Arts, which is affiliated to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Iran’s Fashnews reported on Monday.
“In response to the National Gallery of Art director, we said that the United States is not legally safe for Iranian artworks,” office director Mahmud Shaluii said.
“The behavior of the University of Chicago concerning the Achaemenid tablets is an obvious example of this insecurity, which has increased the Iranian art community’s distrust of the U.S. Such an atmosphere has halted the professional collaboration of the two countries,” he added.
“Thus, it is not possible to loan the painting due to the lack of confidence that the United States will safeguard Iranian artworks,” noted Shaluii, who is also the curator of TMCA.
In spring 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Blanche Manning ruled that a group of people injured by a 1997 bombing in Israel could seize 300 Achaemenid clay tablets loaned to the University of Chicago and the university cannot protect Iran’s ownership rights to the artifacts.
The tablets had been loaned to the university’s Oriental Institute in 1937 for study.
Iran protested against the ruling and began legal proceedings, which have produced no result so far.