Art And Culture

Sepehri’s Painting Among Top-Selling Works at Bonhams

Three top selling Iranian works at Bonhams London Auction Nov. 28: an untitled painting by Sohrab Sepehri (R) and ‘Tomato Plant, Morning’ by Manouchehr YektaiThree top selling Iranian works at Bonhams London Auction Nov. 28: an untitled painting by Sohrab Sepehri (R) and ‘Tomato Plant, Morning’ by Manouchehr Yektai

Bonhams London Auction of ‘Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art’ was held November 28 and offered works by Iranian artists among others.

In sum 79 works were presented with sales generating $1.86 million. There were 17 Iranian works on offer of which 12 were sold for $390,000 or almost a fifth of the total revenue, Honaronline reported.

Iranian works included those by poet and painter Sohrab Sepehri (1928-1980); abstract expressionist Manouchehr Yektai, 94; visual artist, painter, sketch artist and calligrapher Faramarz Pilaram (1937-1982); painter Masoud Arabshahi, 81; photographer and filmmaker Shirin Neshat, 60; collage artist, photographer, painter and installation artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, 33; painter Y. Z. Kami (Kamran Yousefzadeh), 61; sculptor and painter Farzad Kohan, 50; and Iranian-Armenian visual artist Marcos Grigorian (1925-2007).

  Jordanian Royals  

The most expensive works were by Turkish painter, sketch artist and sculptor Fakhr el-Nissa Zeid (1901-1991), best known for her large-scale abstract paintings. Her works at the auction were two primitive paintings, ‘Portrait of Princess Alia of Jordan’ and ‘Portrait of King Hussein of Jordan (Eternal Youth)’ sold for $315,600 and $163,288 respectively.

Next, in terms of price, was an untitled painting by Sepehri. Sold for $107,736, the oil-on-canvas work shows a vague landscape and is from the artist’s abstract series. The painting is a work faithful to the tenets of Sepehri’s oeuvre; demonstrating an almost perfect confluence of his strong representational impulse propelled by his love for the vernacular of Kashan City in Isfahan Province and the more opaque abstraction inherited from the oriental painting traditions he was versed in.

By Yektai, ‘Tomato Plant, Morning,’ his idea of a still life, was hammered at $97,636. “His style, overrun by thick, torrential impastos as elegant as they are volatile, barely respects the shapes and edges of things. Nature here suggests a movement that attracts the gestural propensities of the artist,” American essayist and art critic Clement Greenberg (1909-1994) wrote about Yektai’s work.

An untitled painting by Pilaram was sold for $92,586. It is ink, metallic paint and acrylic on paper. The painting is inspired by popular religious aesthetics. It is a quintessential expression of the Saqqakhaneh School which dominated Iranian modernism in the late 20th century, and of which Pilaram was a seminal founding member.

Three works by painter Nasser Assar (1928-2011) went under the hammer: ‘The Sunset’ for $33,667; an abstract composition for $11,783; and an abstract calligraphy for $3,366.

A 1991 abstract composition, with mixed media on paper, by Arabshahi received the final bid of $6,733, and an untitled work by Neshat, a digital inkjet print on wove paper, sold for $5,050.

  Kashan Portrait

‘Kashan II,’ Behnam Bakhtiar’s portrait of the city was sold for $11,783. It is a chromogenic print on luster photo paper created in 2016. ‘Kashan II’ is from the artist’s ‘The Real Me’ series, reflecting his fascination for Iran’s history, landscape, architecture and culture. The series include carefully crafted compositions and contrasting geometrical collages of traditional tapestry set against the magnificent backdrop of historical Persian architecture.

An eight-part ink-on-paper painting by Y. Z. Kami, titled ‘Voyage en Provence,’ was sold for $7,070. And finally ‘Sky of Memories,’ a mixed media painting on wood panel created by Kohan in 2012, was fetched $5,050.

There were other works by Iranian artists including Hossein Zenderoudi, Fardieh Lashai, Aydin Aghdashlou and Ali Shirazi which remained unsold.


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