The Journey of an Ottoman Painting

with Emily Neumeier

hosted by Chris Gratien

Osman Hamdi Bey is recognized today as the foremost artist of the late-Ottoman period. Yet, in his time, it was his unique access to the ancient past as the head of Istanbul's archaeology museum that drew the interest of his Western contemporaries. In this episode, Emily Neumeier retraces the story of a rare Osman Hamdi Bey painting (At the Mosque Door, 1890 - click for high res image) that turned up in the Penn archaeology museum and explains what it tells us about art, artifacts, and diplomacy during the late-Ottoman era.

Emily Neumeier is a PhD student of Ottoman art history at the University of Pennsylvania
Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate studying the history of the modern Middle East at Georgetown University (see

Citation: "Lost and Found: Art, Diplomacy, and the Journey of a Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Painting," Emily Neumeier and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 81 (November 24, 2012)

Enjoy these images associated with the podcast:

1. Osman Hamdi Bey (1842-1910)
2. Unknown Photographer, Osman Hamdi Bey 
in his Atelier, circa 1900.
3. Pascal Sébah, Peasant Clothing from Bursa Region,
from Ethnographic Photograph Collection
at Vienna Exposition, 1873 (Library of Congress)
4. Osman Hamdi Bey, The Tortoise Trainer,
Pera Museum (click for high-res)
5. Osman Hamdi Bey, Dervish in the Children’s Tomb
(Çocuklar Türbesinde Derviş
or Şehzadeler Türbesinde Derviş), 1908
Oil on canvas, 124 x 93 cm,
Mimar Sinan Resim ve Heykel Muzesi
6. Osman Hamdi Bey, Mihrap or Genesis
7. Osman Hamdi Bey,
At the Mosque Door, 1891,
Oil on canvas, 203 x 123.5 cm,
University of Pennsylvania Museum of
 Archaeology and Anthropology.
(click for high-res)
8. At the Mosque Door at the Chicago Columbian Exposition
in HH Bancroft, The Book of the Fair (1893), p. 905.
9. Osman Hamdi Bey, Excavations at Nippur, 1903
Oil on canvas, 190.7 x 143.8 cm
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
(click for high-res)
10. Jean Léone Gérôme, The Snake Charmer (1870),  Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Link to the Osman Hamdi Bey and the Americans exhibition at Pera Gallery

Link to the SALT Galata exhibition Scramble for the Past

Select Bibliography:

Archaeologists and Travelers in Ottoman Lands. On-line exhibition catalogue. Philadelphia: 
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Eldem, Edhem. 2010. Osman Hamdi Bey Sözlüǧü. Ankara: Kültür ve Turizm

---. 2004.  “An Ottoman Archaeologist Caught Between Two Worlds: Osman
Hamdi Bey (1842-1910).”In Archaeology Anthropology and Heritage in the Balkans and Anatolia: The Life and Times of F.W. Hasluck, 1878-1920, edited by David Shankland, vol. 1, 121-49. Istanbul: Isis.

Makdisi, Ussama. 2002. “Ottoman Orientalism.” The American Historical Art Review 107
(3): 768-96.

Osman Hamdi Bey & Amerikalılar: Arkeoloji, Diplomasi, Sanat = Osman Hamdi Bey & the 
Americans: Archaeology, Diplomacy, Art. Edited by Renata Holod and Robert
Ousterhout. Exhibition Catalogue. Istanbul : Pera Müzesi, 2011.

Shaw, Wendy. 1996. Possessors and Possessed: Museums, Archaeology, and the 
Visualization of History in the Late Ottoman Empire. Berkeley: University of
California Press.