Men Burning a Portrait of the Shah

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Men Burning a Portrait of the Shah

1978, printed 2016
Gelatin silver print
Primary support: 12 × 16 in. (30.48 × 40.64 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by Art of the Middle East: CONTEMPORARY (M.2017.15)
Not currently on public view

Curator Notes

Early December 1978 witnessed the greatest public demonstrations in the history of Iran, in which an estimated ten percent of the population protested in the streets against the Shah, as captured in this photograph of a group of men burning a portrait of the monarch, who would step down in the next month. This compelling image was shot by the most-renowned photographer of the Iranian revolution, known by the single name Abbas.


  • Komaroff, Linda. In the Fields of Empty Days: The Intersection of Past and Present in Iranian Art. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Munich; New York: DelMonico Books-Prestel, 2018.