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Iran – Portrait of a Country

Museum Rietberg



Museum Rietberg presents the exhibition “Iran – Portrait of a Country” in the Park-Villa Rieter, celebrating the work of the photographer Antoin Sevruguin (1851–1933).

Antoin Sevruguin was born in 1851 to Armenian parents in Iran, he grew up in Tiflis (now Tbilisi), Georgia, and later worked in Tehran. Today, we would call him a “Secondo” (an expression used for and by “second-generation” immigrants in Switzerland); for a long time, he referred to himself as a “Russian photographer.” He spoke Persian, Armenian, Georgian, and probably Azeri (a Turkic language) and advertised himself in French as a “photographe artistique,” but he saw himself as an Iranian.

Today these photographs tell a story from another time, reporting on splendour and misery, of modernity and poverty, of beauty and wildness—moving, alienating, cheering, and astonishing. But the images also teach us that many can be understood only after taking a second or third look.

The exhibition features 63 photographs from the collection of Museum Rietberg and is accompanied by a brochure in German, French and English.