• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7674

    International Modern and Contemporary Art

    30 October 2008, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 78

    Hossein Kazemi (Iranian, 1924-1996)


    Price Realised  


    Hossein Kazemi (Iranian, 1924-1996)
    signed and dated in Farsi (lower left)
    oil on polystyrene on board
    50 1/8 x 36in. (127 x 91.5cm.)
    Painted in 1977

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    An outstanding work by painter, ceramic artist and teacher, Hossein Kazemi, one of the greatest pioneers of Iranian modern art.

    Hossein Kazemi started his career as a figural painter and his earliest works were naturalistic. Gradually he began to introduce elements of the Persian miniature into his work and his treatment became ever more stylized. From 1961 onwards he started experimenting with pure abstraction, and when he returned to figurative painting, as he did with his stone-and-flower paintings of the late 1960s, it was in a more abstracted mould, with strong symbolic overtones. This theme continued for the rest of his career, variations and different combinations of flowers and stones, sometimes lacking one or the other element and becoming increasingly abstract.

    His growing fascination with the dualistic philosophy of Mithraism of ancient Iran was expressed in all of his mature paintings.
    As he said "there is one earthly principle and one heavenly principle, and the plant by growing roots into the earth and sprouting towards the heavens faces both principles, unites them and unifies their contrarieties".
    (Hossein Kazemi, interview with the London Kayhan Newspaper, 18 March 1993, cited in Ruyin Paykbaz and Yaghoub Emdadian, Pioneers of Iranian Modern Painting 3: Houshang Pezshknia- Sohrab Sepehri- Hossein Kazemi, Tehran, 2001, p.48).