Picasso and Farah Diba pahlavi

Farah Pahlavi, the queen of Iran, is still alive and well, but people are not talking about her much. Things changed when it was reported last month that “the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art has put on display an exhibition that art experts call the most important collection of modern Western art outside Europe and the United States.” In the 1970’s she collected great works of art – about 150 paintings – by Picasso, Monet, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, etc…


farah pahlavi coat mirror micheleroohani

I bought some old Paris Match magazines some years ago in Paris spanning from 1958 through 1969. It was interesting to see her on the cover from practically the minute she met the Shah in Paris. I put some of the photos from Paris Match together to share them with you.


farah diba pahlavi micheleroohani hotel crillon

She lived a Cinderella story that turned sour at the age of 41 after the Iranian revolution of 1979.


farah diba pahlavi micheleroohani crown bride tiara

In spite of my belief that monarchy is absurd in the 21st century, it seems like I can’t shake my affinity for this lady; the fact that we both went to the same school (Jeanne d’Arc of Tehran) and had to endure the same French nuns may not have much to do with it.


farah diba pahlavi micheleroohani 3 faces

The deposed queen has somehow survived the animosity that follows the Pahlavis wherever they go. At the minimum she should be applauded for amassing a collection of priceless art, as opposed to worthless shoes or stolen jewelry (see Queen Elizabeth and Imelda Marcos).

Her good reputation lasted way longer than her jewelry.

Two of her kids committed suicide: Leila and AliReza Pahlavi; that would be way more painful than losing a country. Aside from her oldest son, the other three never really had a chance…

34 thoughts on “Picasso and Farah Diba pahlavi

  1. Malgré tout ce que l’histoire véhicule, il nous appartient, individuellement, de faire la part des choses.
    La reine Farah Pahlavi, demeure pour moi une Femme avec un grand “F”, une personne qui a dû faire face à beaucoup d’ignominies et de souffrances morales terribles.
    J’ai un profond respect pour elle et une très grande admiration.
    Je suis très émue que vous ayez mis en ligne ces paris-Match que j’ai feuilletés quand j’étais enfant.
    Merci Michèle.

  2. Dear Michele, art collecting cannot be a saving grace for anyone. The greatest art collector of the 20th century was Hermann Goering. Nothing should be taken out of context. No art is worth a bad system. The Hermitage in Communist Moscow was kept in order as an excuse for the government.

  3. Ainsi, Farah Pahlavi avait du goût en matière de peinture, mais un goût éclectique : Monet, Warhol, Pollock…Etablir un parallèle entre Farh Pahlavi et Hermann Goering est pour le moins surprenant. En effet, s’il en avait eu la possibilité, Goering n’aurait sûrement pas collectionné les oeuvres de Warhol et Pollock qu’il aurait rangées dans la catégorie de l’art “décadent”.
    Au demeurant, j’ai vu à la télévision il y a quelques mois une longue interview de cette femme. Je l’ai trouvée raisonnablement intelligente, parfois émouvante et encore très belle.

  4. “Art collecting cannot be a saving grace for anyone” I can’t agree with these words. Il y a d’abord les peintres que l’on collectionne. Renoir et Picasso n’ont pas le même arrière-plan contextuel. On peut donc se demander si l’on collectionne une oeuvre pour ce qu’elle vaut (ou ce qu’elle représente dans l’histoire de l’art) ou pour ce qu’elle est, pour l’émotion qu’elle fait naître en nous.
    Si l’on privilégie ce dernier point, je suis persuadé que l’art peut sauver (to be a saving grace) l’Homme.

  5. Farah Pahlavi is no longer the Queen of Iran. There was a revolution in 1979 that toppled the monarchy in Iran for good. There is no monarchy any more to have a queen.

  6. Dear Michele,
    your site is great , Your pictures and posts also!
    I think nowadays your vision is unique in all the world…

  7. Merci pour les photos, chere Michele, mais je dois avouer que je suis completement en accord avec notre cher professeur.

  8. Philippe Caralp’s answer to Tamas Ungvari answers in one way. I wonder why a person, such as Queen Farah Pahlavi is considered only on the art/culture level? She did so much for science, women, the handicapped, the lepers and so many more. Queen Farah HUMANIZED the regime if you will. And yes, Muhammad Sahimi, the monarchy is no more, but she is still “Queen” in my heart and in the hearts of many others.

  9. Although Koran says, “The place for those who exhibit beauty, is the paradise”, Iran, now, is covering up her women and not letting them exhibit their beauty. Who is right? The Koran or Iran?

    Askin Ozcan
    Author of
    “LIGHTNING AND A BOUQUET OF ROSES” and other books.

  10. She used to be my idol in my childhood days. I have spent my pockmet money just to buy the magazins when pictures of her were published. I still admire her, now even more. She is a great lady, a specie very rare nowadays. As a schoolgirl in the early 1960 I admired her not only because of her good looks and beautiful fashion, but for the fact that to me she was a most emanzipated woman, having tackled to study such a mans domain as architecture. And strangely enough the woman I admired so much was not from the United states or Europe, but came from an Islamic country. Much later I went to Iran and found the women pretty amazing, despite all the unfounded religious repression.

  11. دورود بر بزرگ بانوی سرزمین آریایی ایران اولیا حضرت ملکه فرح دیبا مادر مهربانمان. انشالله که در هر کجای این دنیا که دور از وطن خوبی ها و بدی های این روزگار را می گذارانند در پناه خداوند متعال سلامت و پر انرژی در کنار اعلاحضرت همایونی رضاشاه دوّم لحظات خوبی را داشته باشند…از شما اربابم دستور و از من اطاعت…خادم شما بهنام از آمل

  12. hargez IRAN malakei mesle shoma be khod nakhahad did…..ma ham chenan to ra madare aryaei khod midanim..
    va pedare tajdar ra khodayegan bar ma betab… hamishe sabz bashid..MY QUEEN

  13. از خبر درگذشت علیرضاخیلی متاسف شدم
    خیلی در زندگی غم دیدی
    آرزوی سلامتی وصبر برای شماآرزومندم

  14. The Empress FARAH PAHLAVI will always be the Great QUEEN of Iran and in Iranians Heart.
    Long live the Queen and Reza Pahlavi.

  15. Liebe Shahbanu !

    Ich weises nicht wie kann mein Beileid aus


    Ich Shahla Salimi Da mals schefin in belotehck

    in Rasht !!

    Ich geborene Tochter von Amir Salimi Höherer

    Beamter innenMinsterium

    U Tochter von Mein MaMa Mohtermsadadt MOSAWIE.

    Arteschbod ( General Marschal der luft waffe)

    Hr CHATAM Mit Prinzessin FATEME war ihr schwager

    Shah von IRAN !

    Aber Lt mein mama Hr General Marsch worde

    Ermordet Das Wurde Für unsere famile bis heutiege

    tag nicht erkläert !!!!!!!!!


    Shahla Salimi (Kreiner)





  17. These pictures are great. Queen Farah is embodiment of style, dignity and grace.May she be in peace after tragic death of her two children.

  18. باسلام به بانوی ایران.هرگزبه زیبایی شما ندیدم ونخواهم دید.درتمام طول عمرم ارزوی دیدنتان رامیکشم.بهخاطرتمام رنجهایی که کشیدیدبرایتان متاسفم وازخدا برایتان طول عمرتوام باسربلندی میطلبم.خیلی دوست دارم برای یکبار هم که شده صدایتان رابشنوم.آیا آرزوی مرا براورده میکنید؟به امیدآنروز

  19. سلام فرح دیبا حسرت می خورم از اینکه ملکه ی زیبایی مثل شما را از دست دادم موقعی که زندگی نامه ی واقعی شما را خواندم اشکم در آمد شاید این یک حادثه ی تاریخی بود که این بلا سر شما آمد امیدوارم همیشه شاد باشید

  20. زرتشت بيا كه با تو اميد آيد
    شب نيز صداي پاي خورشيد آيد
    تاريخ اگر دوباره تكرار شود
    كعبه به طواف تخت جمشيد آيد

  21. کاش مقاومت میکردید مثل همه کسایی که الان ایران رو تو دستشون گرفتن و هیچ جوره هم کوتاه نمیان و زندگی همه ما رو به بازی گرفتن کاش مشد به ما کمک کرد .

  22. دیشب یک شب اعتراضی دیگر بود(3شنبه17 اسفند 89) و من با خود می خواندم که خود کردید و بد کردید و بجای نور ظلمت بپا کردید
    خدایا این ناسپاسی کی بخشیده خواهد شد.
    اما ندای درونی من می گوید روز نزدیک است

  23. i’ve heard about farah deeba pahlavi a lot but who is she , really? what is her personality and her donations to the people of iran back on those days? i am curious to know more. thank you

  24. سلام بر بانوی ایران. شما هر جای دنیا که باشید جایتان در قلب ما و یادتان در ذهن ماست.

  25. آيا درسته ايشون و گوگوش تبريزين ؟ عجب زنايي دارن تبريزيا

  26. Na minha infância tinha maior admiração pela rainha Farah Diba! Guardei até uma foto dela de uma revista brasileira chamada MANCHETE, onde a ela estava com uma coroa e maravilhosa!!!Nunca mais vi nada dessa corajosa mulher.Agora com a internet fui procurar se via alguma coisa e me surpreendi com esta reportagem e fotos tão lindas dela.Gostaria de ter noticias dessa rainha que foi para mim motivo de admiraçao e respeito!

  27. I have been studying this amazing woman. I’m completely amazed she has survived emotionally and mentally, from all she and her family endured. That’s not to say everything about her husband’s reign was perfect. I haven’t studied that enough to know but have heard some bad things. However, he did repent and spoke publicly that he would make reforms. But for this woman to survive so much grief speaks volumes about who she is emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Grief is a killer and I think it’s what took her husband’s life. She is a woman of incredible strengths and who has the grace of God upon her life. I pray she can find some peace and joy in life. I pray that her grandchildren and remaining children bring much joy to her life. I admire her greatly for loving her country and it’s people. I still hope for freedom to the Iranian people, who need so much. May God work miracles in their behalf. I know He is hearing all of their prayers. I am praying too, as an American Christian who cares for their hardships. But let us consider that to have food to eat and a roof over ones head is something to be very thankful for these days, even if one is forced to wear a scarf in public. It could be far worse and is for many.

  28. Pingback: Asma al-Assad: Vogue diplomacy « Future Foreign Policy

  29. I just finished Ryszard Kapuscinski’s book the Shah of Shahs and now I’m so fascinated with the country. I was born in the Soviet Union and reading about the atrocities that Iranian people have lived through, reminded me of all the useless and unfair pain that my own ancestors had to tolerate.

    I specially loved the ending of the book where a guy selling Persian carpets concludes that if people only had more taste, there wouldn’t be doing these atrocities. Fascinating point of view, I would like to hear what you guys think about that, come join my discussion: http://www.aksel-mag.com/2013/10/a-taste-for-persian-carpets

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