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Katharina Otto-Dorn (1908-1999)

Prof. Katharina Otto-Dorn (b. Käthe Dorn) stood in direct succession of the founding generation of Islamic Art History, scholars and researchers as Friedrich Sarre (1865-1945) and Josef Strzygowski (1862-1941), the supervisor of Katharina Otto-Dorn in Vienna (dissertation thesis on Sassanian Silverware in 1933). 

Katharina Otto-Dorn received her practical training under Ernst Kühnel (1882-1964) at the Islamic Department of the Berlin Museums, from where she first went to Istanbul in 1935 with a short scholarship. There she remained in different positions until 1944, when all Germans had to leave the country or were interned. After her habilitation in Heidelberg in 1948 she taught from 1954-1967 first as the first Professor of Islamic Art History in Ankara, later in Los Angeles (1967-1978 at UCLA). At the end of the 1980s, she returned to Heidelberg from the USA, where she continued to work on topics of Islamic art history until shortly before her death in 1999.

The photo archives of Katharina Otto-Dorn covers not only extensive educational material for teaching (reproductions) but also several thousand slides, photos and negatives, mainly from Turkey and Syria, taken in the 1950s and 1960s.

A focus is on slides and photos from the excavation (1965-66) of a Seljuk summer palace with figured tile decoration in Kubadabad on Lake Beysehir in Central Anatolia. A rarity are the slides and photos of the first and second campaign of the excavation in the Syrian Resafa from the years 1952 and 1954.

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