Art And Culture

Artist Visits Her Art Works After 40 Years

Artist Visits Her  Art Works After 40 YearsArtist Visits Her  Art Works After 40 Years

Monir Shahroudi-Farmanfarmaian, famous painter, illustrator, and mirror mosaic and reverse glass painting artist, visited Niavaran Cultural Center and expressed her appreciation and gratitude to the efforts made to renovate her art work and the maintenance of her collection at the center.

In response to an invitation by the CEO of Niavaran Artistic Creations Foundation, Seyed Abbas Sajadi, the 90-year-old Farmanfarmaian visited the cultural center last week and was warmly welcomed by Ali Moradkhani, art deputy to the culture minister, Majid Molanorouzi, the head of Visual Arts Department at the ministry of culture, Saeed Kargaran, cultural and social deputy of Tehran district 1, along with Elaheh Javaherian, director of Elaheh Art gallery, MNA reports.

The world-class artist stated, after her first glance at her art work: “I feel like a waterfall coming down a mountain. I am so content with how my art works are preserved here; it is of high importance to artists how their creations are treasured.”

Moradkhani called the artist one of Iran’s “pride and joys” and said a museum to launch the collection of her art works is under consideration.

The mirror mosaic at the entrance of the main hall in Niavaran Cultural Center is one of Farmanfarmaian’s works which was damaged in parts during the 40 years it has graced the place. The piece was restored following the suggestion of Abbas Sajadi and under his direct supervision. It is the only piece of her mirror mosaic work which has remained in Iran.

  Fashion Illustrator

Monir Shahroudi Farmanfarmaian, born in Qazvin, Iran, 1924, is an Iranian artist and collector of folk art. She studied Fine Arts at the Tehran University and was one of the first Iranian students to travel to the United States after World War II.

In New York, she studied at Parsons School of Design and Cornell University, worked as a fashion illustrator, and was absorbed into the city’s avant-garde art scene, becoming friends with artists and contemporaries Louise Nevelson, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, and Joan Mitchell. She painted, collaborated with Andy Warhol on illustrations for the now defunct Bonwit Teller department store, and, under the tutelage of Milton Avery, developed her talent for making monotype prints — some of which were presented at the Iran Pavilion during the 1958 Venice Biennale.

Her artistic practice weds the Sufi symbolism of classical Islamic geometrical design and cut-glass mosaic techniques of her Iranian heritage with the rhythms of modern Western abstract expressionism and minimalism.

The characteristic mirror mosaic of her work is an Iranian decorative form known as ‘ayeneh-kari’. It is the traditional art of cutting mirrors into small pieces and slivers, placing them in decorative shapes over plaster. This form of Iranian reverse glass and mirror mosaics is a craft traditionally passed on from father to son. Farmanfarmaian, however, was the first contemporary artist to reinvent the traditional medium in a contemporary way.

 Avid Collector

She soon reached international acclaim and held major exhibitions in Tehran, Paris, Venice and New York.  For the first time after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, her work was on public display in the Persian Garden Exhibition in 2004. Some of her selected public works and installations can be seen in Tehran at the Carpet Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Niavaran Cultural Center, and Museum of Contemporary Art.

Farmanfarmaian is an avid collector. While living in Iran, she sought out paintings behind glass, traditional tribal jewelry and potteries, and amassed one of the greatest collections of ‘coffee-house paintings’ in the country — commissioned paintings by folk artists as coffee-house, story-telling murals.

The artist returned to Tehran in 2004, where she continues to live and work.