Painter, ceramic artist and teacher, Hossein Kazemi is considered as one of the greatest pioneers of Iranian modern art.
Beginning his career as a figural painter, his earliest works were naturalistic, but as he gradually began to introduce elements of the Persian miniature into his work, 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.
He became increasingly fascinated in the dualistic philosophy of Mithraism of ancient Iran and this principle 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 R. Pakbaz and Y.Emdadian, Pioneers of Iranian Modern Painting 3: Houshang Pezshknia- Sohrab Sepehri- Hossein Kazemi, Tehran, 2001, p.48)