At the heart of Iran Capital, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art houses the greatest collection of modern Western masterpieces outside Europe and North America.
Inaugurated in 1977 by Empress Farah Pahlavi, the building itself is considered as an example of contemporary art. Designed after the traditional Persian architecture, the interior is however inspired by Guggenheim Museum in New-York. At the time of the construction, the museum was a controversial project in a climate of dictatorship.
When the Iranian Revolution broke out, a few artworks were destroyed including a Warhol painting. Thereafter, Western art was taken out of the collection and about 1,500 artworks stored away until the first post-revolution exhibition in 1999, a pop art exhibit featuring works by Hockney, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, and Warhol.
Most of the exhibited art pieces have been selected by the former Empress herself and fund by The National Iranian Oil Company.
Today, it is said that there is approximately £2.5 billion worth of modern art and about 3,000 artworks held at the museum. The collection gathers paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture featuring artists such as Picasso, Rodin, Monet, Pissarro, Chagall, Georges Braque, Toulouse-Lautrec…
From time to time, the institution also organizes exhibitions by local artists.