GODARD, ANDRÉ (b. Chaumont, France, 1881; d. Paris, 1965; ; Figure 1), French architect, archeologist, art historian, and director of the Archeological Services of Iran (Edāra-ye koll-e ʿatiqāt). A graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts of Paris, Godard also studied Middle Eastern and especially Iranian archeology. Like Ernst Herzfeld (q.v.), with whom he had an equivocal relationship of both rivalry and friendship in Iraq and later in Persia, he was both an architect and an archeologist. He first visited the Middle East in 1910 in the company of another architect, Henri Viollet, who was on his third trip to Iraq to study and sketch historical monuments. Viollet and Godard also began the excavation of Samarra, which was later continued by Herzfeld and Friedrich Sarre. In 1912, Godard went to Egypt to continue his research on Islamic architecture. After World War I, he married Yedda Reuilly (1889-1976), who had studied at the École des langues orientales vivantes in Paris and was a gifted watercolorist, a talent she later used for archeological drawings. She was also a prolific scholar (see bibliography below). She joined her husband when he became the architect of the French Archeological Delegation in Afghanistan (see DÉLÉGATIONS ARCHÉOLOGIQUES FRANÇAISES ii.), which was created in 1922, at a time when the political situation in Persia appeared to challenge the French monopoly in archeological matters. Working under the leadership of Alfred Foucher (q.v.), Godard began reconnoitering archeological sites for possible later exploration. In 1923, André and Yedda Godard traveled through large stretches of intractable country with little recorded archaeology. They found works of art of great importance when they undertook partial clearings and excavations. Thus at Bāmiān (q.v.), a center of Buddhist pilgrimage, they studied the plan of the grottoes and copied the paintings. The results of this research were presented at an exhibition organized at the Guimet Museum in 1925.

In 1928, Godard was asked to serve as director of the Archeological Services of Iran, which had been created by Reżā Shah’s government after it had terminated the French monopoly for archeological excavations (see DÉLÉGATIONS ARCHÉOLOGIQUES FRANÇAISES i.), a position he held until 1953 and again from 1956 to 1960. Employed as director of antiquities under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Waqfs (Wezārat-e maʿāref wa awqāf wa ṣanāyeʿ-e mostaẓrafa), Godard formulated policies for archeological excavations and historic preservation and restoration in Iran. He designed the country’s first modern archeological museum, the Iran Bastan Museum (Muza-ye Irān-e bāstān), and was appointed its first director by Reżā Shah.

The Iran Bastan Museum, completed in 1936, was conceived as a modern building with a traditional facade inspired by the pre-Islamic architecture of the Sasanian period as favored by the Pahlavi state. The large arched entry replicated the famous arch of Ayvān (or Ṭāq)-e Kesrā (q.v.) in Ctesiphon (q.v.), and the building’s intricate brickwork paid subtle homage to the Persian tradition of brick construction. The gardens surrounding the museum and the National Library (Ketāb-ḵāna-ye melli) were completed in collaboration with Maxime Siroux, a fellow Frenchman who also went to Persia with the French archeological expedition. The two worked together on the monument of the poet Ḥāfeẓ in Shiraz, a garden pavilion consisting of a simple polygonal open kiosk structure with muqarnas capitals and decoration inspired by the Safavid architecture of Isfahan. Godard’s architectural work, while limited, was important because it reflected his intimate knowledge of Iranian tradition, a knowledge that he put to good use in his preservation practice. He was responsible for restoration work on some major architectural edifices, including the Masjed-e Jomʿa, Masjed-e Šāh, and Masjed-e Šayḵ Loṭf-Allāh in Isfahan. He was also instrumental in designing the campus of the University of Tehran in collaboration with Siroux, Moḥsen Foruḡi (q.v.), and Roland Dubrul, and in establishing the Faculty of Fine Arts (see FACULTIES ii), which included the first professional school of architecture in the country. Godard became its first dean, modeled the curriculum on the French École des beaux-arts system of ateliers, and influenced the education of the first generation of Persian architects professionally trained in Persia (see ARCHITECTURE vii. and viii).

As director of the Archeological Department of the Iran Bastan Museum, he organized field research. He was among the first to be interested in the bronze objects that had been found in Luristan, where mass plundering had begun around 1927 or 1928. Unable to organize systematic excavations, Godard went himself to the sites where they had been found and visited the necropolises, supposedly of Kassite origin, from whence these bronzes came, devoting an important book to them (Paris, 1931). However, his Kassite attribution has been rejected by later research (see BRONZES OF LURISTAN).

The results of Godard’s archeological and architectural investigations, as well as articles by Yedda Godard and other scholars, were published in Athār-é Īrān: Annales du Service Archéologique de l’Īrān,published twice yearly in French from 1936 to 1949 (apart from some interruptions between 1938 to 1949). Some fascicles were devoted entirely to pioneering studies on one topic. Volume 2/1, for example, focused solely on Isfahan with a series of articles by Godard himself, while Siroux contributed seven articles on the topic of caravansary (q.v.) to the 1938 volume of Athār-é Īrān. The volumes contained photographs and illustrations of high quality. These illustrations, as well as the architectural drawings and inscriptions, provide us now with a documentary testimonial to the changes that the ancient monuments of Iran have undergone in the past decades. Each issue also came out in a Persian edition with a translation of the French text but without the accompanying illustrations and photographs.

The site of Persepolis was the main object of the Iranian Archeological Service’s research. In 1939, the Persepolis site was entrusted to the Service, which not only saw to its maintenance and preservation, but also made further excavations. The Terrace had already been completely disinterred, so that three lots of buildings could be recognized: a military quarter including the Hall of the Hundred Columns, the Treasury, and the reception rooms of the sovereigns. Probings were made to determine the extent of the royal city below the Terrace towards Naqš-e Rostam.

During World War II, the Godards supported General Charles de Gaulle. When the French Legation, which represented the Vichy government, left Tehran in 1942, Godard joined a Free France committee set up in Tehran, organizing a quarterly publication and becoming the official diplomatic representative of the French provisional government in London in 1942 (see FRANCE iv). Yedda Godard was also actively involved and organized an information program about Free France on the Persian radio.

In 1944, the Archeological Service of Iran went through a change. Moḥammad-Ṭāqi Moṣṭafawi, Godard’s assistant, became director, while Godard became the director general. A rich treasure of gold, silver, and ivory objects was apparently accidentally discovered at Ziwiye (Ziwia), in upland Kurdistan in 1947. The objects found by peasants were rapidly dispersed and sold to dealers in antiquities in Hamadān and Tehran. Some objects from this hoard made their way to the Iran Bastan Museum, and Godard devoted a book to them (Le Trésor de Ziwiyé [Kurdistan], Haarlem, 1950). In his opinion, the site in question had a fortress with thick walls of unbaked brick, and the treasure, which was supposedly kept in a bronze vat, appeared to have been hidden before an attack. Other archeologists, including Roman Ghirshman (q.v.), had different theories. For example, in his last work on this topic, Tombe princière de Ziwiyè et le début de l’art animalier scythe (Paris, 1979), Ghirshman agreed with the conclusions reached by another archeologist, Tadeusz Sulimirski, that the site was the burial mound of a Scythian prince. But more critical and dispassionate studies of the accounts given by the above-mentioned archeologists have led scholars to question the objective sources of information for these conflicting theories and throw doubts on the existence of Ziwiye as the provenience for some of the objects attributed to it (see FORGERIES ii; Muscarella, 1977).

After his return to France in 1960, Godard devoted himself to writing his book L’Art de l’Iran, in which he outlined “the formation and evolution of Iranian architecture” (preface, p. 9), which had formed the essence of his research throughout his many productive years in Persia (see FRANCE xiib).



Selected works by André Godard and Yedda A. Godard. Exposition de récentes découvertes et de récents travaux archéologiques en Afghanistan et en Chine: Travaux et documents de M. et Mme A. Godard, attachés à la mission en 1923, Paris, 1925.

“Ghazni,” Syria 6, 1925, pp. 59-60.

Les Antiquités bouddhiques de Bâmiyân, MDAFA2, Paris and Brussels, 1928 (with Joseph Hackin).

Les bronzes du Luristan, Paris, 1931.

“A propos de l’exposition de l’art persan à Londres,” Gazette des beaux-arts, 1931, no. 1, pp. 209-24.

“L’Art de la Perse ancienne,” in Marcel Aubert, ed., Nouvelle histoire universelle de l’art, Paris,1932.

Les Monuments de Maragha, Paris, 1934.

“Le Târi-Khânè de Dâmghân,” Gazette des beaux-arts, 1934. no. 2, pp. 225-35.

“Notes sur d’anciennes mosquées de l’Iran,” International Congress for Iranian Art and Archaeology, Leningrad and Moscow, 1935, pp. 70-78.

“The Tomb of Shah Abbas,” Bulletin of the American Institute for Persian Art and Archaeology 4, 1936, pp. 216-17.

Athār-é Īrān: Annales du Service Archéologique de l’Īrān, 1936-49 (as editors; each issue also contains articles by A. Godard and some by Y. A. Godard, too many to be noted in this selective bibliography).

“Gurgān and the Gunbad-i-Qābūs,” Survey of Persian Art I, pp. 967-74.

“The Mausoleum of Õljeitü at Sulṭāniya,” Survey of Persian Art I, pp. 1103-18.

“Persepolis,” Comptes rendus de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 1946, pp. 260-70.

Iran: pièces du Musée de Téhéran, du Musée du Louvre et de collections particulières, Paris, n.d. [1948] (catalog of exposition at the Musée Cernuschi).

Le Trésor de Ziwiyé (Kurdistan), Haarlem, 1950.

“Les travaux de Persépolis,” Archaeologica orientalia, in memoriam E. Herzfeld, New York, 1952, pp. 119-28.

Introduction, Iran: Miniatures persanes–bibliothèque impériale, UNESCO Collection of World Art 6, Paris, 1956 (also published as Iran: Persian Miniatures–Imperial Library, Greenwich, Conn., 1956).

L’Art de l’Iran, Paris, 1962. “Meʿmāri,” in Irānšahr, 2 vols., Tehran, 1963-64, I, pp. 817-36.

“Post-Ṣafavid Painting: An Historical Survey,” in Survey of Persian Art I, pp. 1898-1990 (by Y. A. Godard).

References. Ève Gran-Aymerich, “Archéologie et politique française en Iran: convergences et contradictions (1881-1947),” JA 287, 1999/, pp. 357-74.

Mina Marefat, “The Protagonists who Shaped Modern Tehran,” in Chahryar Adle and Bernard Hourcade, eds., Téhéran capitale bicentenaire, Paris and Tehran, 1992, pp. 95-125.

Oscar W. Muscarella, “ ‘Ziwiye’ and Ziwiye: The Forgery of a Provenience,” Journal of Field Archaeology 4/2, 1977, pp. 197-219.

André Parrot, “André Godard (1881-1965),” Syria 43, 1966.

Frederic Vitoux, Yedda jusqu’à la fin, Paris, 1978 (a novel).

(Ève Gran-Aymerich and Mina Marefat)

Originally Published: December 15, 2001

Last Updated: February 9, 2012

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Vol. XI, Fasc. 1, pp. 29-31