• Art of the Islamic and Indian  auction at Christies

    Sale 7843

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    13 April 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 159


    SIGNED MOZAYEN AL-DOWLEH (1843-1932), QAJAR IRAN, DATED AH 1325/1907-08 AD

    Price Realised  


    SIGNED MOZAYEN AL-DOWLEH (1843-1932), QAJAR IRAN, DATED AH 1325/1907-08 AD
    Oil on canvas, a tabletop is set with various fruits and vegtables including pomegranates, apricots, cherries, watermelons, courgettes, aubergines, grapes, quince, apples and pears all set around a central porcelain jar decorated with birds and foliage, before these a single knife and behind a large brown two handled jar and vine, signed and dated in red along the lower edge with the words, 'Mozayen Do[r]leh pinxit 1325' and in Arabic 'Ali Akbar, crackelure in the paint, three small holes in the canvas, in gilt wood frame
    25¼ x 34¾in. (64.2 x 88.4cm.)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    Mozayen al-Dowleh, also known as Mirza 'Ali Akbar Khan (1843-1932), was a prominent artist of the late 19th/early 20th century and a respected figure of the Dar al-Funun. He was a graduate both of the Dar al-Funun and of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1868 following the implementation of a new set of criteria for selecting instructors, where preference was given to European or Western-educated Iranians, painting classes at the Dar al-Funun were placed under his direction. He thus became the first naqqashbashi appointed by the Ministry of Higher Education and the Shah and remained in the position for fifty years.

    Mozayen al-Dowleh was responsible for training a number of the most prominent painters of the late 19th century. Isma'il Jalayir, the painter of lot 150, was amongst his students. He was also master of the famous artist, Muhammad Ghaffari, Kamal al-Mulk. Because of his European training, it has justly been suggested that it was from Mozayen al-Dowleh that Kamal al-Mulk acquired his European style and technique (Julian Raby, Qajar Portraits, exhibition catalogue, London, 1999, p. 70). Layla Diba writes that 'although he was a competent portraitist, Muzayyin al-Dawleh's, main forte was landscape and still-life painting' (Layla S. Diba et al, Royal Persian Paintings, New York, 1998, p.60). Aside from the style of his work, Mozayen al-Dowleh's European influence playfully shows through in his signature which ends with the Latin 'pinxit'.

    Mozayen al-Dowleh was also an enthusiast of music and theatre. He taught band music at the Dar al-Funun. After Nasir al-Din journeyed to Europe in 1873 where he was impressed by performances of circuses, operas and theatres, Mozayen al-Dowleh was asked to manage a project to build the first European-style auditorium to be built in the higher school of the Dar al-Funun.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Given to Effat al-Muluk by the artist Kamal al-Mulk,
    Thence by descent to the present owner