Mohammed Ehsai (Iranian, b. 1939)
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Mohammed Ehsai (Iranian, b. 1939)


Mohammed Ehsai (Iranian, b. 1939)
signed and dated in Farsi (lower right)
oil on canvas
47¼ x 47¼in. (120 x 120cm.)
Painted in 1996
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 1996.
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Lot Essay

Through an energetic repetition of undecipherable and entwined letters set on a vibrant earthly background, Mohammed Ehsai's present work stands between tradition and modernity. By neglecting the literary sense of the word and rather focusing on the vibrancy of the movement, the letter has become shape and the composition abstract. Just as the artist once stated 'the composition is designed to be seen rather than read'.

Painted in 1996, the present painting appears with a strong visual language which layer by layer creates depth and energy and recalls what the artist himself referred to as the architecture of letters. One would also reminisce the whirling dervishes who aim to reach the source of all perfection by spinning in repetitive circles through their ritual dance, letting their own figure fade away. Similarly, the letter and its meaning have led the way to a stunning composition, which by all means appears to be truly spiritual yet modern, moving away from the traditional Islamic calligraphy in order to become abstract.

The striking composition by the acclaimed Iranian artist Mohammad Ehsai with its enchanting movement of the word raises the present painting to a museum-quality piece. One would thus not be surprised to discover that the sister piece, although in green hues and with a rotated composition, belongs to the permanent collection of Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art and that only a handful of circular calligraphic compositions were ever painted by the artist.

With its rich texture, its depth and its captivating composition, the present painting is undeniably one of the finest and most exceptional examples of Mohammed Ehsai's calligraphy works to have ever appeared at auction.

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