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    Sale 7665

    International Modern and Contemporary Art

    30 April 2008, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 55

    Charles Hossein Zenderoudi (Iranian, b. 1937)


    Price Realised  


    Charles Hossein Zenderoudi (Iranian, b. 1937)
    signed 'Zenderoudi Zenderoudi Hossein' (lower right) and signed in Farsi (lower left) and dated in Farsi (lower centre)
    pen and gouache on paper
    22 7/8 x 28¾in. (58 x 73cm.)
    Painted in 1965

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    The present painting, executed in 1965 during Zenderoudi's Saqqa-khaneh phase, comprises an intense patchwork of iconography, the symbols drawn from familiar Iranian religious and folk traditions. These include elements such as numerical codes which recall those on talismanic shirts, the severed hand of Hazrat Abbas or the Hand of Fatima, and outlines which recall at once the head of a lion, a brilliant sun and the alam (ceremonial standard) carried during the Shi'ite festival of Ashura. As in Islamic metalwork from previous centuries, calligraphic inscriptions weave around these elements, filling every available space with distinctly Iranian motifs. However, the high degree of abstraction and novel deployment of each of these elements reveals a modern sensibility and a clear break from the traditions of Islamic art.
    A saqqa-khaneh (Persian for "Drinking-Place") is a drinking fountain that was typically located on many cul-de-sacs in old Tehran, and was often plastered with popular images, texts and such like. The works of Zenderoudi and others produced in the early 1960s resembled this patchwork of material, and the name was coined to describe the neo-traditionalist tendencies of Iranian art at the time. Kamran Diba, formerly director of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, described it as Spiritual Pop Art: "There is a parallel between Saqqa-khaneh and Pop Art, if we simplify Pop Art as and art movement which looks at the symbols and tools of a mass consumer society as a relevant and influencing cultural force. Saqqa-khaneh artists looked at the inner belief sand popular symbols that were part of the religion and culture of Iran, and perhaps, consumed in the same ways as industrial products in the West" (Kamran Diba, "Iran" in Contemporary Art from the Islamic World, Widjan Ali (ed.), London, 1989). "The discovery of concepts and visual symbols of primitive religious rituals, in the form of prayers and spells devoid of traditional formalism excited the artist. The result was that he began to explore in his work a new vocabulary of beliefs" (Kamran Diba, preface in Saqqakhaneh, Tehran, 1977 cited in Shiva Balaghi, "Iranian Visual Arts in "The Century of Machinery, Speed and the Atom": Rethinking Modernity", in Shiva Balaghi and Lynn Gumpert (eds.), Picturing Iran: Art, Society and Revolution, New York, 2002, p. 25).

    Pre-Lot Text

    The following seven lots trace the career of the Charles Hossein Zenderoudi over the five decades of his career. Each from a different phase, these paintings show both the evolution and the continuity in his work, from his early engagement with neo-traditionalist iconography through his various experiments with letterism and ornamentation.