The book vividly describes how a treasure trove of modern art now worth billions was acquired for a relative pittance in the 1970's. Its author is a former New York Museum of Modern Art curator who served as art adviser to the Empress of Iran during the heyday of Farah Diba Pahlavi. However, this highly readable narrative measures the true worth of a legendary path-breaking intercultural initiative in historical, educational and aesthetic terms.
Because Ms. Stein was an American art scholar and museum professional working in secret, her role in the formation of the Western modern art component of the Iranian National Collection (that continues to languish in storage at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art) has never been revealed. In The Empress and I, Donna Stein cites numerous previously confidential contemporaneous documents, including reports and extensive communications with artists, art dealers, auction houses and notable museum colleagues in Europe and America.
The Empress and I explores a unique alliance between two brilliant and beautiful women against the backdrop of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism that profoundly changed the Iranian Empress, her American curator and the world.