Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Bonhams Spring 2010 Sale of Modern and Contemporary Art Features Contemporary Art of Iran

Bonhams inaugural bi-coastal auction of Modern, Contemporary Art and Latin American Art is to be held in New York and simulcast to the Los Angeles saleroom on May 11, 2010.

This season’s sale includes three notable firsts: the first trans-American simulcast auction in the category; the first time Latin American art has been offered at Bonhams New York; and, the first time that any New York auction house has featured a section entirely devoted to Iranian contemporary art.

Malcolm Barber, Group Managing Director of Bonhams, says: “Bonhams continues its commitment to innovate within the New York auction market, and following on from our Africa Now auction we held in March here at Madison Avenue, we are now delighted to be offering a selection of Iranian contemporary art that will compliment our wider bi-coastal Spring 2010 offering of Modern and Contemporary art. We look forward to a successful sale, and also look forward to a warm response to Latin American art here at Bonhams in New York – another first for us.”

The 20-lot Iranian section includes artworks created from the 1960s through to the present day, and is largely contemporary in tone. Estimates range from $2,000 to $80,000 and the section in its entirety is expected to fetch in excess of $275,000. The catalogue includes a forward by Fereshtteh Daftari, PhD, organizer of the 2006 MOMA show, Without Boundary: Seventeen Ways of Looking.

Works by some of the founders of modern Iranian art, Parviz Tanavoli and Marcos Grigorian, will be offered alongside those by rising stars of the contemporary scene such as Farhad Moshiri, Afshin Pirhashemi and Reza Derakshani.

Highlights include Heech by Parviz Tanavoli, a fiberglass sculpture from 2005. Tanavoli is regarded as one of the pioneers of modern Iranian art, and together with contemporaries such as Charles Hossein Zenderoudi and Faramarz Pilaram, helped form the Saqqakhaneh School in the early 1960s. The School’s followers strove to create a new form of Iranian art in contemporary styles that also incorporated traditional themes and forms. The ‘Heech’, Farsi for ‘Nothing’, has been a key element in Tanavoli’s oeuvre since its first manifestation in 1966 (est. $12,000-18,000).

Farhad Moshiri has occasionally been described as the Iranian Jeff Koons. His playful and thought provoking works combine Western and Iranian cultural elements with traditional Iranian symbology as well as the surreal. S19R is from a series which depicts numbers and script floating in fantastically colored ether producing an extremely striking and multi-layered work (est. $60,000-80,000). Moshiri’s Swarovski crystal and acrylic Eshgh was the first work by an artist from the Middle East to be sold at auction for over $1,000,000 at Bonhams Dubai sale in March 2008, galvanising the artist’s position as one of the most important contemporary practitioners working today.

Afshin Pirhashemi’s photorealistic paintings captivate the viewer through their sheer intensity and beauty. One of the most exciting contemporary artists in Iran, Pirhashemi’s works usually depict lone women against a blank backdrop. Key Job from 2009 is an example of the kind of sultry and mesmerising woman featured in Pirhashemi’s oeuvre which has also included highly political works (est. $12,000-18,000).

Reza Derakshani’s latest works play with the idea of Iranian cultural heritage, depicting figures and stories from Persian history in strong vibrant colors which almost seem to explode from the canvas. Blue Hunting, a triptych from 2009, depicts a hunting scene inspired by 18th and 19th century Qajar manuscripts and appears at first to be wonderfully tactile, rendered in thick acrylic paint. The mesmerizing color of this piece is also noteworthy, as most of the artist’s Hunting series are rendered in vivid reds (est. $50,000-70,000). This along with Mirror of Time – a distorted portrait of an Iranian family again from the Qajar period – exemplifies Derakshani’s desire to combine the new with the old (est. $18,000-25,000).