A Special Exhibition

January 27–August 28, 2022

Explore the ruins of the great Achaemenid city through the stark realism and grandeur of Joseph Lindon Smith's Persepolis paintings, on view for the first time in over 80 years. 

JLS at Persepolis
JLS Landscape terrace
Landscape scene of the monumental terrace including the Gate of All Lands, Persepolis, Iran (oil on canvas, 318 x 201 cm, OIM G4).


Joseph Lindon Smith (American, 1863–1950) was already an accomplished painter, celebrated for his ability to capture archaeological subjects with vivid realism, when he was invited to Persepolis by James Henry Breasted, OI founder and then director, in 1935 to join the OI Iranian (Persian) Expedition (1931–39). Smith's Persepolis paintings—ultimately three portraits and three landscapes—complemented the work of the expedition, whose goal was to rigorously document and preserve the site for perpetuity. The special exhibition, Joseph Lindon Smith: The Persepolis Paintings, curated by Kiersten Neumann, exhibits all six large-scale paintings to the public for the first time since 1939. 
 

Exhibition Preview Video

Joseph Lindon Smith: The Persepolis Paintings


Exhibition Programming


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From the OI

PERSEPOLIS PAINTINGS PERFECTLY GLORIOUS AND CERTAINLY MARK CULMINATING POINT OF HIS CAREER STOP THE WHOLE PROJECT HAS BEEN IN EVERY WAY A GREAT SUCCESS.

Cable from Prentice Duell to James Henry Breasted, May 1935

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Apadana staircase
JLS Guards
Detail of Persian and Median guards from the reliefs of the eastern staircase of the Apadana (audience hall), Persepolis, Iran (oil on canvas, 210 x 107 cm, OIM G2).