Abd al-Hayy

Abd al-Hayy (1374 – 1405) was an illustrator and a painter. He trained under Shams al-Din at Baghdad during the reign of the Jalayirid Shaikh Awais Jalayir (1356-74) and became the leading painter under his son Ahmad, who was also `Abd al-Hayy’s pupil. When Timur took Baghdad, `Abd al-Hayy was sent to Samarkand, either in 1393 or in 1401, where he spent the rest of his life.

He seems to have specialized in monochrome ink drawings. `Abd al-Hayy was a skilled painter who worked for Timur on wall paintings at Timurid palaces.The wall painting of the woman and child is similar to marginal drawings in a copy of Ahmad Jalayir’s Divan, which have also been attributed to `Abd al-Hayy. According to Dust Mohammad, one of `Abd al-Hayy’s students was Pir Ahmad Baghshimali.

Dust Muhammad attributed one painting to `Abd al-Hayy in the Divan. It was detached from a copy of the Divan (‘Collected poems’) of Khwaju Kermani copied at Baghdad in 1396. The scene of a sleeping youth visited by angels is in the same style as the other paintings in the manuscript, one of which is signed by Junayd.

Ali Shir Navai

Mir Alī Shīr Navā’ī also known as Nizām-al-Din ʿAlī-Shīr Herawī  (1441 – 1501) was a Central Asian Turkic politician, mystic, linguist, painter, and poet. He was the greatest representative of Chagatai language. He significantly contributed to the development of the Uzbek language and is widely considered to be the founder of Uzbek literature.  He was generally known by his pen name Navā’ī.

Mīr Alī Shīr served as a public administrator and adviser to his sultan, Husayn Bayqarah. He was also a builder who is reported to have founded, restored, or endowed many mosques, madrasas, libraries, hospitals, caravanserais and other institutions in Khorasan. Among his most famous constructions were the mausoleum of the 13th-century Persian mystic poet, Farid al-Din Attar, in Nishapur.

Moreover, he was a promoter and patron of scholarship and arts and letters, a prolific writer, a musician, a composer, a calligrapher, a painter and sculptor. He was responsible for a number of illustrated books published at the time in which the earliest existing examples of the newly emerging style of Persian miniature can be found – including some attributed to him although we do not know which ones are actually done by him – probably some which appear in his own Divan.

Kamaleddin Behzad

Kamāl ud-Dīn Behzād[ (1450 –  1535) was a miniaturist and illustrator.

Behzad was born, lived and worked in Herat, Afghanistan under the Timurids, and later in Tabriz under the Safavid dynasty.  An orphan, he was raised by the prominent painter Mirak Naqqash, and was a protégé of Mir Ali Shir Nava’i. His major patrons in Herat were the Timurid sultan Husayn Bayqarah (ruled 1469 – 1506) and other amirs in his circle. After the fall of the Timurids, he was employed by Shah Ismail I Safavi in Tabriz, where, as director of the royal atelier, he had a decisive impact on the development of later Safavid painting. Behzad died in 1535 in Tabriz.

Persian painting of the period frequently uses an arrangement of geometric architectural elements as the structural or compositional context in which the figures are arranged. Behzad stretches that compositional device in a couple ways. One is that he often uses open, unpatterned empty areas around which action moves. Also he pins his compositions to the floating eye of the observer giving an  quirky organic illusion of flow. The gestures of figures and objects are not only uniquely natural, expressive and active, they are arranged to keep moving the eye throughout the picture plane.

Behzad’s most famous works include “pages from Sa’di’s Bustan, 1488, and paintings from the British Library’s Nizami manuscript of 1494-95 – particularly scenes from Layla and Majnun and the Haft Paykar. The attribution of specific paintings to Behzad himself is often problematic but the majority of works commonly attributed to him date from 1488 to 1495.

Sultan Muhammad

Sultan Muhammad was a Persian painter, calligrapher and art historian. His exact date of birth and death are not known. He was born in Herat in the late 15th century. He was a disciple of Kamāl ud-Dīn Behzād. Prince Bahram Mirza first spotted his talent and invited him to work in his studio. By early 1520 Sultan Muhammad with Behzad moved from Herat to Tabriz. After the death of Shah Ismail I, he remained in the service of Shah Tahmasp I, taking part in the illustration of the famous “Shahnameh”.

In the late 1530s he worked at the court of the ruler of Kabul, Kamran Mirza, brother of Mughal emperor Humayun. In 1555, and at the invitation of the Emperor, he traveled to India. Sultan Muhammad is known as the author of an essay on Persian calligraphers and artists (1544-45). His writing provides a clear allusion to the existence of a religious ban for images of living beings, and at the same time on the relativity of this prohibition.

Mir Musavvir

Mir Musavvir (- 1555) was an illustrator and painter.

Mir Musavvir was born in either Termez or Badakhshan in the late 15th century. According to the contemporary chronicler Dust Muhammad, he and Aqa Mirak worked together closely in service to the Safavid royal library who did wall paintings for the palace of Prince Sam Mirza and illustrations for royal manuscripts of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh (‘Book of kings’) and Nizami’s Khamsa (‘Five poems’).  “Manuchihr Enthroned” of the Shahnameh is signed on a courtier’s turban, and a verse couplet written in the iwan of Nushirwan and the Owls, made for the Shah between 1539 and 1543, says that it was penned by Mir Musavvir in 1539-40. A portrait of the steward Sarkhan Beg is also inscribed as his work.

It is known that his speciality was big scenes with many figures, although he did portraits and individual character drawings too.

Mir Seyyed Ali

Mir Seyyed Ali (1510–1572) was a Persian illustrator and painter who, together with his fellow countryman Abd-uṣ-Ṣamad (Mirza Ali), emigrated to India and helped to found the Mughal school of painting.

Born in Tabriz, Mir Seyyed Ali was the son of artist Mir Musavvir. Historian and chronicler Qazi Ahmed said that the son was more talented than his father, but the impact of Mir Musavvir did influence his work. Modern research suggests that at a young age Mir Sayyid Ali took part in the illustration of the famous “Shahnameh” created in 1525–35 for the years of the Shah Tahmasp I (1514–1576). The manuscript was once embroidered, and individual sheets of it went to different museums and collections. Seyed Ali’s hand in it are attributed to two miniatures.

The next step was his involvement in the creation of illustrations for the famous manuscript of Nizami’s Khamsa (‘Five poems’) created by the best artists of the Shah kitabhane in 1539–43 by order of Shah Tahmasp. Of the 14 miniatures his brush is credited with four, among them “Layla and Majnun”, which bears the signature of the artist. The period around 1540, contains two remarkable works of the master: a picture of the elegant young man holding a letter disclosed, and a diptych (double frontispiece) for Nizami’s Khamsa with “nomad camp of nomads” on one sheet and “Evening Life Palace” on the other.

In India He and ʿAbd-uṣ-Ṣamad instructed the artists of the imperial atelier, most of them Indians, and superintended the production of the giant “miniatures” illustrating the Dāstān-e Amīr Ḥamzeh (“Stories of Amīr Ḥamzeh”), a colossal undertaking that consisted of some 1,400 paintings, each of unusually large size. The few of his paintings that have survived were for the most part painted before his arrival in India. They are sufficient, however, to denote him as a highly gifted painter, wielding an unusually delicate brush and possessed of great powers of observation

Aqa Mirak

Aqa Mirak was a painter, purveyor and companion to the Safavid shah Tahmasp I and was well known in contemporary circles. Initially living in Tabriz, he traveled and lived in Mashhad between 1555 and 1565, and Qazvin from 1565 until his death.

The contemporary chronicler Dust Muhammad mentioned that Aqa Mirak along with Mir Musavvir did wall paintings for Prince Sam Mirza’s palace in Tabriz and illustrations for royal manuscripts of Firdawsi’s Shahnameh (‘Book of kings’) and Nizami’s Khamsa (‘Five poems’). Qazi Ahmad wrote that Aqa Mirak “had no peer in artistic design and was an incomparable painter, very clever, enamoured of his art, a bon vivant, an intimate [of the Shah] and a sage”. A manuscript of the Khamsa done between 1539 and 1543 has four illustrations bearing attributions to Aqa Mirak.

Works ascribed to a youthful period in the 1520s have tautly composed landscapes inhabited by a few large-scale figures. A transitional period in the early 1530s was followed by mature works produced from the late 1530s to c. 1555, in which the compositions are more complex and the coloring more subtle.

Farrukh Beg

Farrukh Beg (ca. 1545 – ca. 1615) was a Persian born Mughal painter who served in the court of Mirza Muhammad Hakim before working directly for Mughal Emperor Akbar. He is one of a number of artists who took the traditions of the Persian miniature to form that of the Mughal miniature, like Abd al-Samad.

He was in Khorasan until 1585 with artists who had been in the atelier of Ibrahim Mirza. He spent 1585 to 1600 at the atelier of Akbar. He was in the Deccan until 1608 and this shows the style he used when he returned to the court of Jahangir in Mughal India

Mirza Ali

Abd al-Samad or Khwaja Abdus Samad, known as Mirza Ali, was a 16th-century painter of Persian miniatures who together with Mīr Sayyid Alī moved to India and became one of the founding masters of the Mughal miniature tradition, and later the holder of a number of senior administrative roles. He is sometimes referred to as “of Shiraz”. Samad’s career under the Mughals, from about 1550 to 1595, is relatively well documented, and a number of paintings are attributed to him from this period. From about 1572 he headed the imperial workshop of the Emperor Akbar.

It has recently been contended by a leading specialist, Barbara Brend, that Samad is the same person as Mirza Ali, a Persian artist whose documented career seems to end at the same time as Abd al-Samad appears working for the Mughals. These say that he was the son of another leading artist of the court workshop, Sultan Muhammed, and so grew up in the milieu of the court atelier, and was a distinguished painter. Kamal of Tabriz is recorded as a pupil of his.

Reza Abbasi

Reza Abbasi, (1565–1635) was the leading Persian miniaturist of the Isfahan School during the later Safavid period, spending most of his career working for Shah Abbas I. He is considered to be the last great master of the Persian miniature.

Unlike most earlier Persian artists, he typically signed his work, often giving dates and other details as well. His first dated drawing is from 1601. His speciality was the single miniature for the albums or of private collectors, typically showing one or two figures with a lightly drawn garden background. The most typical have at least some colour in the figures, though not in the background; later works tend to have less colour. The style he pioneered remained influential on subsequent generations of Persian painters; several pupils were prominent artists, including Mu’in, who painted his portrait many decades later as well as Reza’s son, Muhammed Shafi Abbasi.

Muin Musavvir

Muin Musavvir (1638–1697) was a Persian painter. He is considered as one of the most famous miniaturist of the Safavid period. He received his training from Reza Abbasi who pioneered Persian miniaturist of the Isfahan School at that time.

Muin was born in Isfahan and probably spent all of his life in this city. He is notable as a master in illustration paintings specially figures of people. Besides, His compositions in depicting of banquet and battle subjects are well known. Muin created his unique style that was exploited from Isfahan conditions in that era and was distinguishable from Chinese and Mughul style. He was specialist in illuminated manuscript and border decorating and he illustrated animals and landscapes and other Aqa Mirak styles with significant virtuosity. Muin Mostly used watercolor in his painting and remained faithful to Isfahan school and Reza Abbasi.

Muin Musavvir was one of the pioneers among Iranian artist who signed his works and provided dates and details for his manuscripts.

Mirza Baba

Mirza Baba (late 18th century and early 19th) was a Persian painter. He was employed by the Qajar family at Astarabad, as indicated by a signed drawing of a dragon and phoenix (1788-9). After Agha Muhammad ascended the  throne, Mirza Baba worked at the Qajar court in Tehran in a wide variety of  materials, techniques and scales.

His oil portrait (1789-90; Tehran, Nigaristan  Mus.) of the Sasanian king Hurmuzd IV (AD 579-90) probably belonged  to a series of historical portraits, for Mirza Baba painted a second series a  decade later. One of the two surviving paintings from the later series (Tehran,  A. H. Ibtihaj priv. col.) shows the Saljuq ruler Malikshah (1072-92)  with his two ministers. Other early works by Mirza Baba include a still-life  with pomegranates, watermelon and flowers (1793-4; Tehran, Nigaristan Mus.) and  an arched panel showing Shirin Visiting Farhad as He Carves Mt Bisitun (1793-4; priv. col., see Treasures of Islam, no. 184). Many of these  early oil paintings follow the style set by Muhammad Sadiq.

Mihr Ali

Mihr ‘Ali (1795 – post 1830) was one of the great royal painters of the Persian court during the reign of Fat’h Ali Shah Qajar, and is regarded as the most notable Persian portraitist of the early part of his reign.

Mihr ‘Ali’s chief skill was his ability to capture the portrait-sitter’s grandeur and power, and as such he became a favourite painter of the Shah. Mihr ‘Ali produced at least ten full-size oil paintings of Fat’h Ali Shah, one of the earliest of which was probably sent as a present to the amirs of Sind in 1800. A further portrait, of the Shah enthroned, was sent to Napoleon. Mihr Ali’s finest portrait is an 1813–4 work, regarded by some as one of the finest Persian oil painting in existence. It shows a full-length portrait of the King wearing a gold brocade robe and a royal crown, holding a jewelled staff.

Fat’h Ali Shah commissioned great numbers of lifesize portraits of himself and his sons, works which formed the backdrop to court ceremonies. The works, painted by Mihr ‘Ali and his predecessor as court painter, Mirza Baba, portrayed Fat’h Ali Shah in his many stately roles, and were intended to show his power as a ruler rather than to be realistic portraits. As a result, the works are heavily stylised, are painted in rich, deep tones, and are filled with symbols of power.


Mirza Abol-Hassan Khan Ghaffari Kashani, (1814 – 1866) known as Abol-Hassan the Second and entitled “Sani ol-Molk”, son of Mirza Mohammad Ghaffari, the talented painter and graphic artist of the early 19th century was born in Kashan around 1814. After his elementary schooling, he was sent, at the age of fifteen or sixteen, to learn painting with Master Mehr-Ali Esfahani, the famous painter and the naqqashbashi (grand painter) of Fath-Ali Shah of Qajar.

Mirza Abol-Hassan Khan, driven by his innate taste and inherited talent, and with the guidance and tutelage of his instructors, gradually attained the perfection of his art, and soon became a renowned artist of his time. In 1842, during the reign of Mohammad Shah of Qajar, he was allowed to paint a portrait of the monarch, thus becoming a court painter, and soon after was appointed naqqashbashi of Mohammad Shah’s court. Mohammad Shah’s oil portrait dated 1842 is considered his earliest painting.

Mirza Abol-Hassan Khan went to Italy, then the artistic centre of Europe, in order to see and study the works of the great and famous European artists, particularly those of Renaissance, and become acquainted with their painting methods. He spent some time in Italy visiting and studying in the academies and museums of Rome, Vatican, Florence and Venice, making copies of the works of Italian artists. When he returned to Iran Naser o Din Shah was on the throne. His illustrations for the book of “one thousand and one night” became famous for his use of contemporary personalities to depict characters in the stories.


Mohammad Ghaffari (1847 – 1940), better known as Kamal-ol-molk was a celebrated Iranian painter. He was  born in Kashan to a family greatly attached to art. Kamal’s uncle, Mirza AbolHassan Khan Ghaffari, known as Sanee-ol-Molk, was a celebrated painter. His father, Mirza Bozorg Ghaffari Kashani, was the founder of Iran’s painting school and a famous artist as well. His brother, AbuTorab Ghaffari, was also a distinguished painter of his time. Mohammad developed an interest in calligraphy and painting at a young age.

Upon completion of his primary education, Mohammad moved to Tehran and registered at Dar-uol-Fonun School, a modern institute of higher learning in Persia, where he studied painting with Mozayyen-ol-doleh, a well-known painter who had visited Europe and studied Western art. In his visits to Dar-ol-fonoon, Naseral-din Shah came to know Mohammad Ghaffari and, having observed his talent, he invited him to the court. Naser-al-din Shah Shah gave him the title “Kamal-ol-Molk”. He created over 170 paintings. Unfortunately, most of these paintings have either been destroyed or lost.

Abolhassan Khan Sadighi

Abolhassan Khan Sadighi (1894 – 1995) was a prominent Iranian painter and sculptor. He was attracted to drawing and painting from an early age. During his high school days he went away to Master Kamal-ol-Molk’s classes at the School of Delicate Crafts. He soon became one of the most remarkable students of the school. During his next three years in that school, he succeeded in getting a high degree diploma in painting. Master Kamal-ol-Molk, seeing his talent and efficiency, appointed him as a teacher of painting and drawing at the school. Shortly after becoming a teacher, he became attracted to sculptures. At that time, the art of sculpture was almost unknown in Iran and Master Abolhassan Khan Sadighi’s work became the beginning of a new movement in the field in Iran.

He also taught at the Faculty of Fine Art of Tehran university for many years, running its sculpture section. He retired from the university in 1967 and soon after also from the art world as a whole.

Hossein Behzad

Hossein Behzad (1894 – 1968) was a prominent miniaturist from Tehran who tried to revive the Iranian miniature traditions. He also simplified Persian miniatures and introduced more Iranian elements into this tradition which had not changed since the Safavid period.

He became popular and internationally known as a Persian miniaturist and won many awards. He created over 400 works. The “Behzad Museum”, located in Tehran’s Sa’d Abad Palace, holds the largest collection of his works.

Hoseyn Ghollar-Aghasi

Hossein Qollar-Aghasi (born Tehran, Iran 1902–1966) was an Iranian painter. The son of Ali-Reza Ghollar-Aghasi, a designer of tile-work patterns, he acquired rudimentary skills of traditional painting in his father’s workshop. He was one of the developers of “Coffee Shop Painting”, creating canvas works and mural frescoes based on religious traditions and national epics.

Abolhassan Etessami

Abolhassan Etessami (1903 – 1978) was an Iranian architect, calligrapher, painter, and novelist. His father Ebrahim Etessami was the head of finance of the Iranian province of Azerbaijan; and his brother Yussef Etessami was the founder of the Bahar journal, and the father of the poet Parvin Etessami. Abolhassan Etessami was educated in Tehran at the Aghdasieh School, the American School, and the Kamal-ol-molk School of Fine Arts. Then he spent some years in Isfahan to learn architecture and decoration techniques, and later went to work at Tehran University.

Abolhassan Etessami produced a series of architecture projects, detailed maquettes of which were made by himself. On the Iranian Ministry of Fine Arts’ request, the maquettes were sent to Brussels’ 1958 Universal Exhibition, where Abolhassan Etessami was awarded the gold medal in the individual presentation category. The maquettes were later bought by the National Museum of Iran, and included in the permanent collection of the Islamic arts division. In addition to architecture projects, Abolhassan Etessami left a series of oil on canvas paintings including Some ruins in Dowlat-Abad, A village home in Niavaran, and Pasteur’s intercession for Napoleon, and some novels including, The left-alone man and The malicious Mohil-o-doleh.

Houshang Pezeshknia

Houshang Pezeshknia (1917-1972).

He graduated from Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts where he studied under the supervision of prof. Leopold Levy. He held his first solo exhibition in 1947 in Tehran.

He was a follower of the Fauvist school emphasising strong colours and tones instead of representational or realistic forms.

Mahmoud Javadipour

Mahmoud Javadipour (1920 – 2012) was a painter and graphic artist who is considered to be one of the pioneers of modern art in Iran. He graduated from The School of Fine Arts, University of Tehran. He then studied graphics in Munich Academy of Fine Arts. He was awarded a doctorate in fine art by the  Iranian Cultural High Council.

He has left an enormous body of work with a range of styles in which he experimented. Although he remained a figurative painter he made a lasting contribution to modern art. A number of famous Iranian modernist painters were trainecd and influenced by him.

In 1949 together with Hosein Kazemi he established Apadana, the first private art gallery in Iran.

Jalil Ziapour

Jalil Ziapour (1920 – 1999) was an Iranian painter and a university professor. He was one of the pioneers of modern art in Iran. Indeed, some have called him the “father of Iranian modern art”.

He published a number of books and has left over 40 pieces of art. he was one of the founders of “khoroos jangi” (fighting cock!) art group.

Sadegh Barirani

Sadegh Barirani was born in 1923 in Bandare Anzali in Iran. He studied at the School of Fine Art in Tehran University. He was part of The Fighting Roosters, a group that pushed the artwork in Iran to evolve with the rest of the world. The Fighting Roosters was a group of college students at the School of Fine Arts in Tehran University from 1948 to 1953. This group academically studied European modern art styles, though they were discouraged by their professors and constantly passed over for expositions. However, the group understood and appreciated modern art and allowed it to influence their classic training.

For his pieces, Barirani created a brush with both thick and thin bristles that required swift movements. Barirani’s technique was inspired by poems and became known as mystic lyricism. Barirani excelled and earned grants to travel to the United States and France to study at different universities. He placed in a number of world art competitions, and once he moved back to Tehran, he became a professor of fine arts. He is known in Tehran for creating hundreds of modern posters for events in the city, like shows, festivals and art events.

He now lives in California and is still evolving his artwork at 93 years old.


Ahmad Esfandiari

Ahmad Esfandiari (1922- 2013) was one the first graduates of the Tehran University’s Fine Arts faculty. He used modern Western combinations of familiar Iranian art motifs and elements such as miniature, batik, qalamkar, and tilework. He created a new eclectic style of his own. The resulting works remind one of the Impressionist and Post Impressionist styles with their warm and lively compositions and harmony.

The stylization of form and traditional motifs, attention to light, a colorful palette, and his constant experimentation have created an impressive amount of variety in his work including traditional forms, complete abstraction, expressionism, pointillism, and even Cézanne inspired works.


Hossein Kazemi

Hossein Kazemi (1924-1996) was a painter and one of the pioneers of contemporary art in Iran.

He was a graduate of Tehran University’s Fine Art school and became later a Professor and head of the Department of Painting in the Decorative Arts Faculty.

He had numerous solo or group exhibitions and has several works in private collections and museums. He received the gold medals of the 1st and 2nd Tehran Biennales.


Behjat Sadr

Behjat Sadr (1924 – 2009) was an Iranian painter whose works have been exhibited in major cities across the world. Sadr began her studies at the University of Tehran faculty of fine arts. After her graduation, she won a scholarship to the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome at the Naples Academy of Fine Arts.

Sadr’s first major exhibition was at the twenty-eighth Venice Biennial in 1956. In 1957, Sadr returned to the University of Tehran as a member of faculty and taught there for almost 20 years. Sadr is regarded as one of Iran’s influential and radical Modern painters. She was a pioneer of the visual arts in Iran and one of the first women artists and professors to appear on the international biennales scene in the early 1960s. Sadr offers the singular testimony of a nascent cosmopolitan modernity that emerged in Tehran, Rome and Paris, in cities where she studied and exhibited, embodying an extraordinary fusion of work and life.

Mohsen Vaziri-Moghaddam

Mohsen Vaziri-Moghaddam (1924 -) is an Iranian painter and a professor of art.

He is a graduate of Fine Arts School, University of Tehran. In 1955 he moved to Italy for further studies. In 1958, he was awarded Diploma of Fine Arts from Accademia di Belle Arti of Rome. In 1964 he returned to Tehran as a Professor of Art at Faculty of Decorative Arts and Faculty of Fine Arts of Tehran University.

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (1924 -)  is an Iranian artist and collector of folk art. Her artistic practice weds the rigorous geometric patterns and cut-glass mosaic techniques of her Iranian heritage with the rhythms of modern Western geometric abstraction.

Farmanfarmaian studied at the Faculty of Fine Art, Tehran (1944-1946), before travelling to the United States. In New York she studied at Parsons School of Design and Cornell University, worked as a fashion illustrator, and was quickly absorbed into the city’s thriving avant garde art scene, became 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, she developed her talent for making monotype prints — some of which were presented at the Iran Pavilion during the 1958 Venice Biennale.

She returned to Iran in 1957 and began experimenting with techniques of reverse-glass painting, mirror mosaics, and the Sufi symbolism of classical geometrical design with a modern abstract expressionism and minimalism. “Ayeneh Kari” is the traditional art of cutting mirrors into small pieces and slivers, placing them in decorative shapes over plaster. Farmanfarmaian was the first contemporary artist to reinvent the traditional medium in a contemporary way. She soon reached international acclaim and held major exhibitions in Tehran, Paris, Venice and New York.

Marcos Grigorian

Marcos Grigorian (1925 – 2007) was a notable Iranian-Armenian artist and a pioneer of Iranian modern art.

Grigorian was born in Kropotkin, Russia, to an Armenian family from Kars who had fled that city to escape massacres when it was captured by Turkey in 1920. In 1930 the family moved from Kropotkin to Iran, living first in Tabriz, and then in Tehran. He Graduated in 1954 from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome. He then returned to Iran and opened the Galerie Esthétique. In 1958, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, he organized the first Tehran Biennial. Grigorian was also an influential teacher at the Fine Arts Academy, where he disseminated his enthusiasm for local popular culture, including tea-house paintings.

In 1975 Grigorian helped organize the group of free painters and sculptors in Tehran and was one of its founder members. Artists Gholamhossein Nami, Massoud Arabshahi, Morteza Momayez and Faramarz Pilaram were amongst the other members of the group. As a modernist pop artist Marcos Grigorian turned to ordinary objects and popular ethnic forms and approaches. He used ethnic food such as “Nan Sangak” and “Abghousht” to evoke authenticity in his work. Grigorian was a trend setter in experimenting with Earth Art, in Iran. Grigorian left Iran in 1977 living for a short time in the United States before moving to Yerevan, Armenia.

Mansoureh Hosseini

Mansoureh Hosseini  (1926 – 2012) was an Iranian contemporary artist and one of the pioneers of the country’s modern art. She was educated at the University of Tehran, the Faculty of Fine Arts, from which she graduated in 1949. Mansoureh left Iran in the early 1950s to live in Italy, where she furthered her education at the Rome Academy of Fine Arts leading up to her artistic début at the 28th Venice Biennial in 1956.

After a moderately successful period in Italy, Mansoureh returned to Iran in 1959 and won several awards in the Tehran Painting Biennial. In 2004 she exhibited at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Mansoureh is best known for having produced works in both figurative and abstract styles. Her works have often included elements of Kufic script. She is known, along with Behjat Sadr, to use traditional elements of both the Persian culture and that of contemporary Europeans. She was considered to be an experimentalist.

Bahram Alivandi

Bahram Alivandi (1928 – 2012) was an Iranian-born Modern artist living in Vienna. He is known primarily for his paintings, which typically depict stories from Persian mythology and literature, and express oriental mysticism. He has also produced a number of wall tapestries that, like his works on canvas, demonstrate his own instantly recognisable visual language.

He gained his artistic training in Tehran, initially at the Kamal-ol-Molk Academy of Art, then under the tuition of French masters at Tehran’s School of Fine Arts (closely modelled on the French École des Beaux-Arts), from which he graduated with distinction. He completed a further degree in painting at the College of Decorative Arts, Tehran. Alivandi was one of Iran’s modernists painters. He left Iran several years after the Islamic revolution of 1979 and lived and worked in Vienna from 1983 to 2012.

Alivandi’s work is rich in symbolism and oriental motifs. He draws influence from Persian culture, depicting characters and stories from legends and epic poetry. His works include a series of large-scale oil paintings executed in the 1980s which depict such important figures as Mithra, Jesus Christ, the Simorgh, and Ferdowsi. In terms of technique his work is at times traditional and at times highly original. Alivandi’s early paintings, including those from the 1980s, use the now-traditional medium of oil on canvas, yet his aesthetic style, which recalls the stained glass of medieval churches, is highly personal. During the 1990s Alivandi continued to work in oils, but abandoned the traditional canvas, choosing instead to apply his paints directly to newspaper; a method pioneered by the cubists in the early 1900s. Since circa 2000, he increasingly worked with the angelique pointillage technique.

Hannibal Alkhas

Hannibal Alkhas (1930 – 2010) born in Kermanshah was one of the forerunners of modern figurative painting in Iran. He was the son of the Assyrian writer Rabi Adai Alkhas.

He graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1959 and taught at Tehran University (School of Fine Arts) from 1960-64. During the same period he established Gilgamesh Gallery, one of the first modern Art Galleries in Iran. Since then he has taught at a number of institutions including the University of California at Berkeley and Los Angeles. and Azad University in Tehran.

Hannibal experimented with different techniques and materials with the different “isms” of art but developed his own unique style of figurative painting. His paintings are featured in the Fine Arts Museum and Gallery of Modern Art in Tehran and the Helena d’ Museum in Tel Aviv.

Jazeh Tabatabai

Jazeh Tabatabai  (1931 –2008) was an Iranian avant-garde painter, poet, and sculptor. Tabatabai received over 10 major international awards for his paintings and sculptures. His works can be found in major collections and in many museums around the globe including the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Additionally, his works have been displayed in exhibitions in England, India, Italy, Germany, Spain Greece, Australia, France and the United States.

He was the founder and director of the Iran Modern Art Gallery in Tehran, Iran. He is considered as another painter of the saghakhaneh school.

Parviz Kalantari

Parviz Kalantari (1931-) is an Iranian painter. He  was born in 1931 in Taleghan city. From the early ages, he showed great interest in painting and later developed major skills in drawing. In 1959 Kalantari finished studying painting at Tehran University, Department of fine arts. He has held various exhibitions inside and outside of Iran.

His paintings are interesting yet simple, his simplicity and modest techniques make the paintings attractive to the audience and this minimalism is a theme that runs through his life. Parviz Kalantari’s current house was designed and built by his brother, Iraj Kalantari, one of the most influential Iranian architects whose dedication to Iran’s contemporary architecture is significant. The interesting aspect of parviz Kalantari’s works is that his subjects of interest are mainly architectural.


Sirak Melkonian

Sirak Melkonian (1931-) is an Iranian painter and graphic designer currently living in Toronto.

Sirak Melkonian was born in Fardoun Village, Iran in 1931.  He studied painting with Marcos Grigorian, a pioneer of Iranian Modern art. In the 1950s, Melkonian was associated with Studio Démon, a small arts studio in Tehran that produced popular works.

He gained national recognition in 1957, winning a prize at the Contemporary Iranian Artist Exhibition of the Iran American Society. This was followed by the Imperial Court Prize at the Tehran Biennale in 1958 and first prize at the Paris Biennale in 1959. The artist has exhibited at the Grand Palais and the Salon De Montrouge in Paris, as well as Washington International.

Bahman Mohasses

Bahman Mohasses (1931-2010) was a painter and sculptor and part of the modern art movement in Iran.

Bahman Mohasses was born in March 1931 in Rasht. He studied art at Tehran University. he later joined the “Cockfight” art and culture society (Anjoman-e Khorous Jangi), established by Jalil Ziapour, and was, for some time, the editor of the literary and art weekly “Panjeh Khoroos” (Rooster Foot). Through this society he was part of an avant-garde artistic movement, which included his good friend Nima Yooshij, the father of modern Persian poetry and Sohrab Sepehri, Houshang Irani and Gholamhossein Gharib, all progressive artists of their time. In 1954 he moved to Italy to study in the Fine Art Academy of Rome.

He has had a number of solo and group exhibitions in Italy and elsewhere. He returned to Iran in 1963. He stayed in Iran until 1968, before returning to Rome, where he received commissions for statutes to be placed in Tehran. Some of his public works in Iran were destroyed or damaged after the 1979 Revolution, with the artist subsequently destroying all his remaining works in Iran. He occasionally travelled to Iran and died in self-imposed seclusion in Rome in 2010.

Nasrollah Afjei

Nasrollah Afjei (1933-) is a calligrapher painter.

His first degree was from Iranian Calligraphists’ Association and he taught at Tehran Schools and Universities from 1997- 2004.

Afjei has focused on calligraphy. He has learnt ‎different techniques and experienced with a variety of materials developing a unique style.‎

Naser Oveisi

Naser Oveisi (1934-) is a painter and one of the influential followers of the Saqakhaneh style.

He has won numerous awards from international exhibitions and biennials.

Massoud Arabshahi

Massoud Arabshahi ( 1935 -) is an Iranian painter.

Arabshahi held his first solo exhibition at the Iran-India Centre, Tehran, in 1964, four years before graduating from the College of Decorative Arts, Tehran. His work includes oils on canvas, sculptures and architectural reliefs- among the latter commissions for the Office for Industry and Mining, Tehran, 1971, and the California Insurance Building, Santa Rosa, California, USA, 1985.

His sources of inspiration comprise Achaemenid and Assyrian art as well as Babylonian carvings and inscriptions. Combining tradition and modernity. His work has been shown in a number of solo and group exhibitions in Iran, Europe and the United States including Two Modernist Iranian Pioneers, at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, 2001; and Iranian Contemporary Art, Barbican Centre, London, 2001. He lives and works in Tehran and California.

Iran Darroudi

Iran Darroudi (1936 -) is an Iranian artist.

Darroudi studied at Ecole Superier des Beaux-Arts in Paris, history of art at the École du Louvre in Paris, stained glass at the Royal Academy of Brussels, and television direction and production at the R.C.A. Institute in New York. Darroudi’s first solo exhibition was held in Miami in 1958 at the invitation of the Florida State Art Centre. Her first exhibition in Iran was held in April 1960 at the Farhang Hall.

In 1968 she made a documentary about the 1968 Venice Biennial. She was appointed as an honorary professor at the Industrial University of Tehran, teaching art history. She held successful exhibitions in Paris and at the Atrium Artist Gallery, Geneva, and a month later at Galarie 21, Zurich. In 1974 a film on Darroudi’s life was broadcast on American television. She met Salvador Dalí and Tago Seizi. In 1976 she exhibited at the Mexican Museum of Art.

Mansoor Ghandriz

Mansoor Ghandriz (1936 – 1966 ) was an Iranian painter, born in Tabriz. He used Iranian forms in modern art and was one of the creators of the Saghakhane movement in Iranian painting. He studied at Tehran University, Faculty of Fine Arts. He alongside a number of other artists founded Iran Gallery which was one of the famous art galleries in Tehran. It has now changed name to Ghandriz Gallery.

Charles Hossein Zenderoudi

Charles Hossein Zenderoudi (1937 Tehran) is a renowned Iranian painter and sculptor, known especially as a pioneer of Iranian modern art. He is one of the founders of the saghakhaneh style. He is a graduate of Fine Arts from Tehran University. He also studied in Paris.

His interest in Iranian-Islamic traditions, his acquaintance with calligraphy and his affiliation and sympathy for traditions were what helped him to reach his own personal unique style. In the late 1950s that Zenderoudi created the Saqqa-khaneh movement. A reaction to Western art and the relentless clash between traditional and modernist Iranian art, the Saqqa-khaneh lobbied for the incorporation of national, folkloric and religious elements into Iranian art. In essence, Saqqa-khaneh took pride in Iranian-ness and sought to mesh Iranian heritage with Contemporary art, proposing a re-reading of cultural content by means of a referential continuity.

He left Iran for Paris in 1961 and chose painting as his career. He met artists like Alberto Giacometti, Stephen Poliakoff and Lucio Fontana and writers such as Eugène Ionesco. Zenderoudi has received many accolades and won many international awards, starting at the biennales of Venice in 1960 and São Paolo in 1961, when he was still in his early 20s. Following the 1963 acquisition by New York’s Museum of Modern Art of his K+L+32+H+4, which not only marked the first of his paintings to enter a major public collection but also served as a catalyst for other museums to follow suit, most of the world’s prominent art institutions have sought to include his works in their collections – London’s British Museum, Paris’s Centre Pompidou and Copenhagen’s Statens Museum, among others.

He has been living in Paris and New York since 1961.

Faramarz Pilaram

Faramarz Pilaram (1937 – 1982) was a calligrapher and one of the pioneers of saghakhaneh style. He studied painting and interior design graduating from Tehran’s College of Decorative Arts. He also studied for a year in France in 1970.  where he stayed for a year.

He is renowned for his experiments with Farsi calligraphy and his reinterpretation of its traditional form, particularly the nasta’liq style of script. As a contemporary of  Parviz Tanavoli, Massoud  Arabshahi, Sadegh Tabrizi, and Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, Pilaram is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the ‘Saqqakhaneh School’, particularly in his rendering of calligraphy.

Pilaram held numerous solo exhibitions in Tehran abd abroad. His work is held in collections including MoMA, New York, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, and Jahan-Nama Museum, Tehran.

Ali Akbar Sadeghi

Ali Akbar Sadeghi (1937 – ) a graduate of the College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, is an Iranian painters and artists. He is among the first individuals involved in the Centre for the Intellectual Development of Children and the Youth, and was among the founders of the Film Animation department of this institute.

In 1989 he founded Sabz Gallery, which was actively and continuously exhibiting the works of Iranian painters until 2003. In total, he has participated in over 25 individual and group exhibitions, over 7 volumes of books of the collection of his works have been published, and he has been a member of jury panels in over 10 biennial exhibitions. His style is surrealism based on Iranian forms and compositions.

Parviz Tanavoli

Parviz Tanavoli (1937 -) is an Iranian sculptor and painter. He has lived in Vancouver, Canada since 1989.

Tanavoli’s work has been auctioned around the world making him one of the most expensive living Iranian artist. Upon graduating from the Brera Academy of Milan in 1959, Tanavoli taught sculpture for three years at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He then returned to Iran and assumed the directorship of the sculpture department at the University of Tehran, a position he held for 18 years until 1979, when he retired from his teaching duties.

Since 1989 Tanavoli has lived and worked in Vancouver. His latest solo exhibition was a retrospective held in 2003 at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Prior to that he had held solo exhibitions in Austria, Italy, Germany, United States and Britain. His work has been displayed at the British Museum, the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, the Isfahan City Centre, Nelson Rockefeller Collection, New York, Olympic Park, Seoul, South Korea, the Royal Museum of Jordan, the Museum of Modern Art, Vienna, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, Hamline University, St. Paul and Shiraz University, Iran.  He belongs to Saghakhane group of artists. He has been influenced heavily by his country’s history and culture and traditions.

Sadegh Tabrizi

Sadegh Tabrizi (1938-) is a painter and calligrapher. He is a graduate of Tehran Academy of Decorative arts.

Since the early 60s he has been experimenting with calligraphy and is considered to be one of pioneers of the trend in contemporary Iranian art known as “calligraphy painting”.  He has moved closer to total abstraction in his latest works.

He has however experimented with many different forms in different period. The common trend of which has been the use of traditional motifs with new modern forms.

Siah Armajani

Siah Armajani (1939) is an Iranian-born American sculptor. He was born in Tehran but moved to USA in 1960 to attend Macalester College and has lived and worked in Minneapolis ever since,.

Siah Armajani designed the Olympic Torch presiding over the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. He has worked on other projects such as the New York Staten Island tower and bridge, the Round Gazebo in Nice, France, and the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. His 2005 work, Fallujah, is a modern take on Picasso’s Guernica but has been censored in the U.S. due to its critical view of the war in Iraq. One of Armajani’s important projects is located at North Shore Esplanade at St. George’s Ferry Terminal, Staten Island, NY. Armajani has said: “All buildings and all streets are ornaments. Moreover, the lighthouse and bridge gives a place to the representational arts of poetry, music, and performing. By embracing all of the arts, the lighthouse and bridge asserts its own perspective everywhere.

In 2010 he won a Fellow award granted by United States Artists. An exhibition at Muelensteen Gallery in 2011 presented a dozen of Armajani’s early pieces created in the years leading up to his arrival in America. Many employ ink or watercolor on cloth or paper, and incorporate text. In his “Shirt” (1958), Armajani uses pencil and ink to completely cover his father’s shirt in Persian script.

Mohammad Ehsai

Mohammad Ehsai (1939 -) is a calligrapher and a teacher of this ancient art.

He is one of those Iranian pioneers of “Naghashi Khat” or ‎‎“Painting Calligraphy” whose works have been influential.

Aydin Aghdashloo

Aydin Aghdashloo (1940 -) is an author, art critic, art historian, painter and graphic designer. He currently lives in Tehran, Iran and lectures in different Iranian Universities besides his professional work.

Aghdashloo was appointed by Queen Farah Pahlavi, as the “Head of Artistic Affairs of Shahbanu’s Special Bureau”. His responsibilities included purchase of artworks from contemporary artists for the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. He also helped establish the Reza Abbasi Museum in Tehran in 1977 and was the head of the museum until 1979.

Early in his career, Aghdashloo took great interest in the Renaissance and Sandro Botticelli’s paintings in particular. He even used to test his own skills by copying Botticelli’s works to the last detail. His admiration for Renaissance paintings lead to the creation of his “Memories of Destruction” series in the early 1970s which became his most celebrated and famous series. In these series Aghdashloo depicts destruction of identity and beauty by painting a complete Renaissance masterpiece and then partially destroy or deface it. He also uses Persian miniatures extensively in his paintings after 1979. The crumpled Persian miniature series are the best example.

Kamran Katouzian

Kamran Katouzian (1941-) is a painter and graphic designer of long standing in Iranian mdern art. He has been a representative of contemporary Iranian art in a number of international ar festivals.

He is a graduate of Windham College, Putney, VT, USA and Tehran University’s School of Architecture.

Mohammad Ali Taraghijah

Mohammad Ali Taraghijah (1943 –  2010) was an Iranian painter. Even though he graduated from the College of Science & Technology in mechanical engineering, his heart was set on art. He went on to become one of the distinct figures of Iran’s contemporary art scene.

His works have been exhibited in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, United States and Japan.

Farshid Mesghali

Farshid Mesghali (1943 -) is an Iranian animator, graphic designer, illustrator, and writer who has lived in the United States since 1986. He received the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1974 for his “lasting contribution” as an children’s illustrator.

Mesghali studied painting at Tehran University and began his professional career as a graphic designer and illustrator in 1964. After graduation in 1968, he was supported by the Centre for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (CIDCYA) in Tehran. From 1970 to 1978 he made many of his award-winning animated films, posters for films and illustrations for children books under its auspices. In 1979 he moved to Paris. In the next four years he worked as an artist producing a number of paintings as well as sculptures, which were presented at Sammy King Gallery in Pairs.

In 1986 he moved to Southern California. He opened his graphic design studio, Desktop Studio in Los Angeles. From 1990 to 1994 he has created a series of digital artworks based on snapshot photos. They were exhibited in some galleries and later in L.A. County Museum of Modern Arts. At present he is working on a few sculptures and installation projects in his studio in Tehran.

Mahmoud Zendehroudi

Mahmoud Zendehroudi (1943-) known as Zende is an Iranian artist living in France since 1978.

He became a journalist after leaving high school and painted for pleasure. In 1962 he exhibited some work at the 2nd Biennial of Tehran and at the International Exhibition of Tehran in 1970.

Zend left Iran in 1978 and settled in southern France. He then devoted himself entirely to painting and exhibits worldwide. His style is very particular mixture of all sorts of materials, collage, paper pulp sculpture and calligraphy,


Farideh Lashai

Farideh Lashai (1944 – 2013) was an Iranian painter, writer and translator. Her foremost book is Shal Bamu. But she is renowned for her abstract contemporary paintings. She was a graduate of the Academy of Decorative Arts, Vienna, Austria.

After finishing high school, she went to Germany. After studying in the school of translation in Munich, she went to Vienne to study decorative arts. She then worked for two years in Reidel company.

Her paintings combined the traditional art with contemporary art, including techniques deriving from late 17th century northern Europe. The traditions of Cezan, and those of the Far East are present in her works, and yet her works are considered to have a contemporary view of nature. Her works are considered a reflection inner insight and a perception of the soul of nature. She never intended to paint the details, but instead to create a symbol and vague understanding of nature, so that they would have the feeling of nature in them.

Ate the age of 68, after a long period of dealing with cancer, she died in Jam hospital in Tehran.


Koorosh Shishegaran

Koorosh Shishegaran is a contemporary painter who although influenced by the calligraphy-paint school has developed his own unique abstract style. Only the skeletal motifs of his abstractions could possibly be traced back to calligraphy. He was born in Ghazvin in 1944 but then moved to Tehran with his family. He is a graduate of School of Fine Arts and holds a BA in Decorative Art from Tehran University.

Shishegaran’s ability to humanize abstraction and bring three dimensions into his canvases and through the brush strokes and colours, make him one of the most expressive and emotive artists of the contemporary Iranian art movement. He says “We live in complex times: of breathlessness and excitement, of ties and confusions, of contradictions and mysteries, of disturbances and breakneck speed; of colour, exploding wonders and novelties; in short, a complicated world for today’s man. I have been trying to find a style or language expressive of the modern era. One that can be seen as pure painting yet rooted in my own country’s art and culture.”

Shahla Dadsetan

Shahla Dadsetan is a graduate of Fach Hoch Schule in Koln in architecture and Design (1962 – 1967).

After numerous architectural realizations Shahla Dadsetan chose to express herself through  painting, She has then carried out extensive research into colour, techniques and abstraction. Her triple rich cultural background (Iranian father, Polish mother and an education in Germany) and her unique understanding of architecture, design and applied sciences has given her paintings a unique sense of space. She has created and developed a unique, organic and, aesthetic style of her own.

Iraj Zand

Iraj Zand (1950-) is a painter and a graduate of Fine Arts School of Tehran (1969) and also Ecole Nationale Superieure des beaux Arts de Paris (1980)

He has participated in more than 35 painting and sculpture exhibitions in Iran and France and is currently an instructor of Art at Universities of Iran. He is also a board member of the first association for Iranian Painters .

Ali Nassiri

Ali Nassiri (1950-) is a highly regarded abstract painter born in Tehran who now lives in Washington DC.

Although he avoids publicity and dislikes the commercial art world he is one of the most talented of Iranian abstract painters. It is difficult to define his style. He has in over 40 years of painting produced many and varying styles. He himself considers his style as “no style”.

His canvases are what would make Knadinsky proud who believed a painting must directly appeal to your senses without any mediation or representation. In the sense that Nasiri’s painting are so expressive some have called his style abstract expressionism. But that would be inaccurate. These are no “action paintings”. His canvases are well planned and thought out with many carefully considered layers. Maybe a better label could be sensual abstractions. Looking at his paintings you would enter into a new world of visualising your sensations. He is the abstract painter par excellence. He has a lyrical-visual language of sensations all his own!

Ali Divandari

Ali Divandari ( 1957 -) is an Iranian Cartoonist, Painter, Graphic Designer, Sculptor and Journalist.

Divandari studied Graphics at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Tehran University. He began his career as Graphic Designer and Cartoonist in 1975. In 1997, He directed a new International Cartoon Festival in Iran with a main theme of “man and Nature – Only one, Share & Care”. Over his career, Divandari was a jury member of several cartoon exhibitions in Iran and Turkey. His works have been published in many international newspapers and magazines and have been exhibited in over than 34 countries.

Amir Sadegh Tehrani

Amir Sadegh Tehrani  (1959-) is a calligrapher and graphic designer. He has a degree in calligraphy (1981-1984 – Iranian association of calligraphy) and in graphics (1989-1993 – Faculty of fine arts, University of Tehran).

Mostafa Dashti

Mostafa Dashti (1960 -) is a painter. He has studied painting and calligraphy under the tuition of Aidin Aghadashlou, the late Seyed Ahmad Abtahi and Abdulah Faradi.

His early work depicted powerful desert scenes. This relationship with landscapes, whether natural or human created, has continued over the years and is still apparent in most of his work today. In recent years he has used a more abstract mode of communication and some of his work have indeed been abstract compositions. He has also preferred the use of darker colours.


Reza Khodadadi

Reza Khodadadi is a contempora y Iranian  artist born in Ardabil (1961) and living and working in Tehran. He is an academic, a painter, sculptor, Urban artist and Muralist. He teaches art at Tehran University of Art and is the author of a number of well received books in the field of urban murals. He has been involved in a major study project: “The Murals of Tehran: musts and musts not”


Ali Shirazi

Ali Shirazi (1960 -) is a calligrapher and painter.

He received the ” Distinction ” certificate from the Iranian Calligraphy Society, Shirazi worked for a while as the Head of Esfahan Calligraphy Society but moved to Tehran in 1988. He was elected as the member of the high council of the Iranian Calligraphy Society.

He has produced over a 100 works and has exhibited in a number of solo and mixed group exhibitions.

Parastou Forouhar

Parastou Forouhar (1962-) was born in Tehran, where she studied art at the University of Tehran from 1984 to 1990 and continued her studies at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Offenbach am Main, Germany. She has exhibited internationally, including as part of Global Feminisms (2007) at the Brooklyn Museum. In 1998, Forouhar’s parents were murdered because of their political beliefs, and many of her works express a critical attitude toward Iranian politics and Islamic Fundamentalism.

Farhad Moshiri

Farhad Moshiri (1963-) is an Iranian artist currently based in Tehran.

Moshiri studied fine arts at CalArts in Pasadena, California, in the 1980s, where he first started experimenting with installations, video art and painting, before moving back to Tehran in 1991. He subsequently became well known for his ironic interpretations of hybrids between traditional Iranian forms and those of the consumerist and globalized popular culture widespread in his country.

His work is held in several public collections, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, the Farjam Collection, Dubai, and the British Museum, London.

He is represented by The Third Line, Dubai, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris, Rodolphe Janssen in Brussels, and Thaddeus Ropac in Salzburg.


Akram Abouee

Akram Abouee (1964 -) is an Iranian painter. She has been living in Germany since 1996.

A literature graduate who studied art under Hannibal Alkhas and Parviz Kalantari She also studied at Tehran’s modern Academy under Roueen Pakbaz. She has had a number of solo and group exhibitions and has also published three books about her work.

Rezvan Sadeghzadeh

Rezvan Sadeghzadeh (1964 -) is an Iranian painter whose poignant paintings comment on the situation of women in a male-dominated society. But they are also about the human condition in general. The figures in Sadeghzadeh’s paintings are always women. He attributes this to the bond he shares with his mother. “As a child I was very close to my mother and troubled her a lot. When I was at university, ‘mother’ became the central theme of my work, and this abstract female figure became a part of my mind and my life. Today, in my daily life I see women struggling with the restrictions, injustices and suppression imposed on them by society. So this figure has stayed in my work, acquiring multiple meanings,” he says.

Other recurring elements in his work include stones, bayonets, candles, doors, chairs and sandals. These are all everyday things that he sees in and around his home. But in his paintings they acquire multiple meanings. A candle, which is lit to celebrate a birthday as well as to mourn a death, becomes a symbol of both hope and loss. The bayonet, used in war, also looks like a cypress tree that signifies peace and freedom. The empty chair could represent an absent figure, a position in society, or memories of a place. And the stones too can be seen as a symbol of invasion and war, or of fortitude and patience.

Ahmad Mohammadpour

Ahmad Mohammadpour (1965-) is a painter calligrapher. He graduated from the Iranian Calligraphers Association. He also teaches calligraphy. He has had many solo and group exhibitions both in Iran and abroad..

Khalil Koiki

Khalil Koiki (1965-) is a calligrapher painter. He has a post-graduate degree from the Association of Iranian Calligraphers. He teaches at Shariaty University, Tehran.

Koiki has taken part in more than 50 group exhibition inside and outside of Iran.

Bahram Hanafi

Bahram Hanafi (1966-)

He studied handicrafts and has a post graduate degree in Art Research. He has been teaching history of art and applied art since 1985. He is involved in research about “Book Making” and its connected Arts.


Azra Aghighi Bakhshayeshi

Azra Aghighi Bakhshayeshi, (1968-) is one of the few professional female calligraphic artist working in Iran. She is a descendent of the famous court Calligrapher Mirza Karim Khoshnevish Tabhari, Her work explores the rich aesthetic possibilities inherent in the internal architecture of Persian script. For her, there is beauty not just in the meaning letters express but also in the form and texture of those letters.

Aghighi, who considers herself a “Painter’s Scribe,” has found a way to express beauty with words – but in a non-literary way. For her, viewers need not understand the meaning of the letters and words to gain access to the meaning of her art; in fact, not understanding the words is exactly what she wants from viewers:

While Aghighi is inspired by religion the heart of her practice is not religious: “it is not my intention to pass [my religious inspirations] on to the viewer… I am trying to show the viewer that my artistic inspiration continues to be part of a rich heritage from the golden treasure of Middle Eastern culture.”

Golnaz Fathi

Golnaz Fathi (1972 -) is a contemporary Iranian artist.

Whilst studying Graphic Design at Azad University in Tehran, Fathi became fascinated by the expressive potential of traditional Persian calligraphic forms and immersed herself in a sustained six-year study of traditional calligraphy, where she became one of only a handful of women trained to the highest level within that discipline.

Fathi investigated ever more abstract forms of representation, using modern media to aid these explorations, whilst still basing her work on fundamental calligraphic practices and techniques. The introduction of bold swatches of colour further emphasised her transition to an alternative idiom that gave precedence to her own imaginative modes of subjective expression.

Mehrdad Shoghi

Mehrdad Shoghi (1972-) is a painter and graphic designer.

He is a graduate of Azad University, Tehran, in Graphic Design, He studied Traditional Persian Painting, Calligraphy, Illumination and Restoration under the guidance of Aydin Aghdashloo & Biuk Ahmari. He also has a diploma from the, Academy of Traditional Persian Calligraphy, Tehran.

He has held many solo and group exhibitions and some of his murals are installed in different stations of Tehran’s  Subway Stations.

Robabeh Hoseinpour

Robabeh Hoseinpour (1974 -) is a graduate of the Calligraphers Association and has taught calligraphy herself for many years. She has been working at the Centre for the Intellectual Development of Children and Adolescents since 1997.

Her first solo exhibition of Persian poetry with the poetry of  Simin Behbahani and to commemorate her 85th birthday was held in 2012.


Sasan Nasernia

Sasan Nasernia (1974-) is a painter calligrapher.

Nasernia is one of the modern calligraphy painters that emerged in the wake of the pioneering works of artists such as Mohammad Ehsaie, Hosein Zendehroodi and Faramarz Pilaram.

As a graphic artist, he started with digital typography under the influence of Reza Abedini at Azad Art University, Tehran where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and fine art. There, he absorbed an acute attention to form associated with modern typography and later developed a kind of vocabulary that emerged through his focus on the deformation of letters and of intersection between graphic, calligraphy and painting. Currently he works mainly on large sized acrylic paintings.

He has had numerous solo and group shows in Tehran and Dubai. He currently lives and works in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Kamrooz Aram

Kamrooz Aram (1978-) is a contemporary artist whose work explores the complicated relationship between traditional non-Western art and Western Modernism. His work uses iconography as well as abstraction, revealing the essential role that ornament played in the development of Modern art in the West. Taking floral motifs from Persian carpets, Aram repeatedly reconfigures them into painterly mediations resulting in images, always in a state of flux.

Aram received his master’s degree in Fine Arts from Columbia University in 2003. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been featured and reviewed widely in publications such as Art in America, Artforum.com, The New York Times, Asian Art Newspaper, The Village Voice and the arts and culture segment on BBC Persian: Tamasha. Aram’s recent solo and two-person exhibitions include Ornament for Indifferent Architecture, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (2017); Recollections for a Room, Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2016); Unstable Paintings for Anxious Interiors at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2014); Kamrooz Aram/Julie Weitz at The Suburban, Chicago, Illinois (2013). Current and upcoming exhibitions include a solo exhibition, Ancient Blue Ornament, at the Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, Georgia in January 2018, a two-person exhibition with the work of Anwar Jalal Shemza at the Hales Project Room, New York in January 2018, and FOCUS: Kamrooz Aram at The Modern, Fort Worth, Texas in March 2018.

Ebrahim Olfat

Ebrahim Olfat (1979 -) is a calligrapher painter and a member of Calligraphers Association.

He has held a number of solo and group exhibitions and won a number of international prizes for his work

Neda Hadizadeh

Neda Hadizadeh (1979-) has an Art diploma in Painting, School of Fine Arts (1997) and  B. A. In Painting from Azad University (2003).

She had a solo exhibition “The sin is ours!“ in Mohsen Gallery (2011) and a  Painting exhibition in Elahe Gallery (2007)

Mehdi Ghadyanloo

Mehdi Ghadyanloo (1981) is an Iranian painter. known for his utopian and philosophical paintings that interrogate universal human precepts such as fear, hope and loss. His work makes use of trompe-l’œil and shows the influence of Surrealism; he has been compared to Magritte. Through the portrayal of minimal heterotopic environments, surreal architectural arrangements, and the repeated use of symbolic elements such as stairs, balloons and aeroplanes, Ghadyanloo invites us to consider new realities and the shared universality of our existence. In 2006, on commission from the city of Tehran authorities, he started painting large-scale murals on bare walls in the city of Tehran; he has painted more than 100 of them. In 2015 he visited London for an exhibition of his “indoor” paintings, and painted murals there also, including one in Shoreditch.

Maryam Ghanbarian

Maryam Ghanbarian (1987-) has a post graduate degree in graphics  from the Faculty of Fine Arts, the University of Tehran, Iran

She has held a number of solo and group exhibitions and has won a number of awards including the special award in the first international visual arts festival of ECO (Global celebrations of Norooz).