Dr. Esin Atıl received her first B.A. in literature and drama, and her second B.A. in applied arts and art history. She attended the graduate program of the University of Michigan, where she received her M.A. in European art and Ph.D. in Islamic art. In 1969, Dr. Atıl joined the Smithsonian Institution as a curator of Islamic Art at the Freer Gallery of Art, a post which she held for fifteen years. She later served as an Islamic Art historian at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, two Smithsonian museums devoted to Asian art. After her retirement in 1993, she was appointed Research Associate.
Dr. Atıl has organized numerous exhibitions and published more than twenty books on the artistic traditions of the Islamic world with the subjects ranging from studies on manuscripts, ceramics, and metalwork to surveys of Mamluk and Ottoman art. In addition, she has written hundreds of articles and a number of chapters in surveys. The major exhibitions she organized and wrote catalogues for were: "2500 Years of Persian Art" (1971), "Turkish Art of the Ottoman Period" (1973) "Ceramics from the World of Islam" (1974), and "Art of the Arab World" (1975). Her subsequent major exhibitions and related publications included "Brush of the Masters: Drawings from Iran and India" (1978); "Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks," "Kalila wa Dimna: Fables from a Fourteenth-Century Arabic Manuscript" (both 1981); and "Islamic Metalwork in the Freer Gallery of Art "(1986).
She co-authored Oriental Ceramics the World′s Greatest Collections: Freer Gallery of Art (1975, reprinted 1981). She edited Turkish Art (1980), writing the chapter entitled "The Art of the Book;" and wrote the section on "Islamic Pottery," in Ceramic Art of the World of Islam (1985).
Between 1985 and 1987, Dr. Atıl was a guest curator at the National Gallery of Art, where she published the Suleymanname: The Illustrated History of Suleiman the Magnificent (1986); as well as The Age of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent (1987), to accompany the traveling exhibition of the same title, which she organized. In 1987 she received the Grand Award for Culture and Art from the President of Turkey and the Medal of Honor from the Assembly of Turkish American Associations for her work on this exhibition. The same year she was awarded honorary doctorates from the Bogazici and Karadeniz Universities in Turkey.
Dr. Atıl served as a guest curator of the exhibition "Islamic Art and Patronage: Treasures from Kuwait," which was shown in the United States in 1990-92, then toured Europe; she was also the editor of the volume with the same title, which was translated into French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Arabic. Her other publications include Images of Imperial Istanbul, a facsimile of a sixteenth-century work with panoramic views (1993), and Levni and the Surname: The Story of An Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Festival (1999), another facsimile published in English and translated into Turkish. She is also the author of the chapters on: "The Ottoman World in the Nineteenth-Century" in Voyages & Visions, "The Arts of Islam" in the Muslim Almanac (both 1995), "Islamic Metalwork" in Culture and Learning in Islam (2003), and "a Calligrapher and His Work" in Mohamed Zakariya: Islamic Calligrapher (2006).
Dr. Atıl contributes regularly to scholarly journals, and serves on the advisory boards of scholarship and museum programs, as well as on the editorial boards for several periodicals. In addition, she has worked on films on various aspects of Islamic art, most of which have been distributed internationally. Since her retirement, she has undertaken consulting work on museum management, educational curricula, and exhibition planning in the Islamic countries and elsewhere, and continues to lecture and write articles and books.
Dr. Atıl has traveled extensively, conducting research, participating in conferences, and presenting lectures in the United States, Europe, and the Islamic world. She has visited and researched in northern and eastern Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania), western and south-eastern Asia (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, and Malaysia), and throughout Turkey.
Reference: ataa.org, danislogbookdestinationistanbulbeyond.blogspot.com