André Godard

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André Godard (21 January 1881 – 31 July 1965) was an archaeologist, architect and historian of French and Middle Eastern Art. He also served as director of Iranian Archeological Service (IAS) (Edāre-ye kol-e 'atiqāt).


Godard was born in Chaumont. A graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts of Paris, he studied Middle Eastern archaeology, particularly that of Iran, and later became known for designing the National Museum of Iran, where he was appointed inaugural director in 1936. He was also instrumental in the design of Tehran University campus.

He made his first trip to the Middle East in 1910 with Henri Violle. Together, they began to excavate the ancient ruins of Samarra, located in modern-day Iraq. The ruins were fully excavated a few years later by German-born archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld. Godard returned to his architectural studies in 1912, focusing on Islamic architecture of Egypt.

After World War I, Godard married Yeda Reuilly. The Delegation of French Archaeology in Afghanistan was subsequently founded in 1922, so Godard and his new wife accompanied the organization to not-yet-excavated regions. They consequently studied Bâmiyân, which was later permitted to be exhibited at the central Buddhist shrine of the Guimet Museum, in 1925.

In 1928, Godard was granted the directorship of Iranian Archeological Services, by the authority of Reza Shah. The IAS was intended to mark the end of French monopoly over excavation in Iran. As such, Godard focused on the politics of conservation, and held the title of Director from 1928-1953, then again from 1956-1960. Reza Shah also appointed him director of the National Museum of Iran (Muze-ye Irân-e Bāstān).

During his tenure, Godard was responsible for the restoration of major historic monuments of Iran, such as the Friday Mosque, the Shah Mosque, and Mosque of Sheikh Lutfallah of Isfahan among others. Using his directorships, he organized mass excavations, such as the bronzes of Lorestan, Persepolis and Isfahan.

When France was run by Vichy during World War II, Godard became a representative diplomatic official of the French provisory government, as established in London in 1942. His wife Yeda supported the organization as well, establishing an informational program French liberation for Iranian radio.

Godard returned to Paris in 1960, where he continued to write on Iranian art. He died in Paris on 31 July 1965, prior to the Iranian Revolution.

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Andre Godard also designed Hafezieh (Tomb of hafez) in Shiraz, Iran. Project completed in 1935.