Ardeshir Mohassess


Over the past decade, some of the most glowing stars in the firmament of the art world have been Iranian – from Shirin Neshat, acclaimed since the late 1990s for her films, videos and photographs, to painters such as Farhad Moshiri and Charles Hussein Zenderoudi, whose work has fetched prices upwards of $1 million at recent auctions in Dubai. Buoyed by the West’s growing fascination with all things Middle Eastern and the Gulf’s flowering art market, the future for Iranian artists seems bright. But until recently there was scant global buzz about prior generations of Iranian artists – none of whom, perhaps, seems more significant now than Ardeshir Mohassess, a prominent political caricaturist who many of today’s successes count as a major inspiration. Ardeshir (as he preferred to call himself) rose to fame during the 1960s and 1970s, under the reign of Shah Mohammed-Reza Pahlavi, and was renowned for his deft and bitingly satirical drawings, which meld reportage with the conventions of Qajar portraiture and the flatness and decorativity of Persian miniatures. In his heyday, he was lionised by the Iranian intelligentsia and his work was broadly published. But after moving to New York in 1976, he gradually fell into obscurity.

more from Carol Kino at The National here.