News / Middle East

Iranian Art Sales Flourish Despite Financial Woes

Paintings from Sohrab Sepehri's 'Tree Trunks' series will be up for auction, Oct. 3, 2011 (courtesy of Sotheby's).
Paintings from Sohrab Sepehri's 'Tree Trunks' series will be up for auction, Oct. 3, 2011 (courtesy of Sotheby's).
TEXT SIZE - +
Andy Edwards

The vibrancy of Iranian art and its current position in the world art market go under the gavel in the London auction rooms of Sotheby’s on Tuesday. The sale highlights a growing interest in Iran’s artists and how they have drawn upon various influences of lives spent away from their native land.

Whereas uncertainty in world financial markets have had an impact on international art sales, Sotheby’s Roxane Zand says interest in contemporary Iranian art is holding strong.

"We find that the market has held quite stable and that the prices are healthy and robust," she says. "Like many other areas of art, we have seen a rise in prices in the past, [but] at the moment we see a great deal more stability and we think that this particular sale in London is going to do very well indeed."

One of the leading figures to be shown will be painter and poet Sohrab Sepehri, who died in Tehran in 1980. His “Tree Trunks” series, a key work painted in New York in 1970, reflects on his time spent in Japan a decade before.

Bahman Mohasses's 'Untitled.'
Bahman Mohasses's 'Untitled.'

Sepehri's work, Zand says, was enormously influenced by study and travel abroad, and his New York stint was motivated by a desire to find tranquility among the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Conversely, his contemporary Bahman Mohasses, who died last year, produced a harsh realism when living in Rome. “Untitled,” a Mohasses piece that portrays an almost grotesque, epicene figure perched on the gunwale of a small boat, is emblematic of his style.

"Mohasses always mentioned that his aesthetic lay in ugliness and that he saw and explored a different aesthetic," says Zand, describing him as a modern master whose recent death has only focused more attention on his work.

Hadieh Shafie's '10450 Pages.'
Hadieh Shafie's '10450 Pages.'

The contemporary works of Hadieh Shafie, recently nominated for the 2011 Jameel Prize, tap roots of Islamic arts and design while drawing comparisons to the iconic Jasper Johns. One of the most distinctive works to go on sale, "10450 Pages" - ink and paint on tightly-bound scrolls of paper - gives a clue to her approach. "She’s very interested in process-oriented work and repetition and the patterns that are caused by that which in turn finds its routes in traditional Iranian art," says Zand.

Naveed Noor's 'The Eye Codex of The Monochrome Series.'
Naveed Noor's 'The Eye Codex of The Monochrome Series.'

Works by German-born Iranian Naveed Nour, who exhibited at this year's Venice Biennale, also invoke achievements of major art-world figures. One piece from "The Eye Codex of The Monochrome Series" - a project completed over 26 years that critics compare to the works of Anish Kapoor and Mark Rothko - is set to go on sale.

With six-figure sums anticipated for some items, including Sohrab Sepehri’s "Tree Trunks," the financial profile of Iran’s contemporary art market is likely to match the range and vigor of works about to go on the block in London.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid