Header Image

Ashley V. Miller

August 3 - August 26, 2015

Project Title: Doris Duke's Shangri La and the Global "Revival" of Moroccan Design

Project Abstract: After a weeklong stay in the French Protectorate of Morocco in 1937, Doris Duke and James Cromwell hired the Rabat-based firm, S.A.L.A.M. René Martin, to design and install a series of interior spaces inspired by "traditional" Moroccan craft and design for their Hawaiian villa, Shangri La. In collaboration with Martin and his associates, the Cromwell's engaged local workshops in Morocco to construct custom-made furnishings and architectural features, including a carved and painted wood ceiling, zellij tilework, and other elements in wood, stucco, metal, and ceramic. The Cromwell's encounter with Moroccan art coincided with a rich moment in the modern history of Morocco's decorative arts industries. From its establishment in 1912, the French Protectorate administration had launched an extensive campaign to "revitalize" Morocco's traditional arts, and by the late 1930s a vibrant commercial market for Moroccan artistic and cultural products spanned from Morocco to France and beyond. My research at Shangri La will situate the Cromwells' Moroccan commission within the context of this contemporary industry; it will also elucidate the contributions of local Moroccan workshops and design firms, including S.A.L.A.M. René Martin, to the global consumption and "revival" of Islamic art and design in the twenties and thirties.

Ashley Miller is a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art at University of Michigan. Her work focuses upon the intersection of colonial cultural policy in North Africa with the development of the field of Islamic art history, the rising phenomenon of museums and international expositions, and the establishment of a global market for "colonial" or "primitive" arts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is currently preparing a dissertation entitled, "Locating 'Heritage' in Morocco: Colonial Notions of Cultural Heritage and the Promotion of Morocco's Decorative Arts under the French Protectorate (1912-1931)." Ashley is the recipient of grants from the Fulbright Foundation and the Georges Lurcy Charitable and Educational Trust.

See Ashley Miller's Lecture 

See Ashley Miller's Working Paper

About Shangri La Visit Islamic Art Collection Programs Residencies Internship Opportunities Stewardship Research Blog Contact Us