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Lecture

Commissioning on the Move: Doris Duke's Travels and Patronage of "Living Traditions" in India, Morocco and Iran

Feb 11, 2012

Location: Shangri La

Speaker: Dr. Keelan Overton, Curator of Islamic Art at Shangri La

In the 1930s, Doris Duke and her then husband James Cromwell traveled extensively throughout the Middle East. This passion for exploration led them not only to collect historic Islamic art but also to commission new work by living craftsmen. This lecture examined the Cromwells' three major commissioning efforts of the mid-to-late 1930s: India in 1935; Morocco in 1937; and Iran in 1938. The results of this patronage can today be appreciated throughout Shangri La, from the marble bedroom suite, to the expansive ceilings in the living room and foyer, to the tiles covering the walls throughout the property. This lecture focused primarily on the Morocco commissions and shared new findings from fieldwork conducted in the fall of 2011.

Dr. Keelan Overton, Curator of Islamic Art at Shangri La, holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles (2011) and a Master’s Degree in Art History from Williams College in Massachusetts (2004). She is the recipient of a University of California President's Fellowship and a Theodore Rousseau Fellowship from the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  

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