Mohammad Ehsai (Iran, born 1939) Untitled
Lot 427*
Mohammad Ehsai
(Iran, born 1939)
Untitled
Sold for £92,500 (US$ 151,151) inc. premium

Lot Details
Mohammad Ehsai (Iran, born 1939)
Untitled
acrylic on canvas, framed
signed and dated "Mohammad Ehsai 1346" (AP) in Farsi (lower left), this work was executed in 1967
49 x 100cm (19 5/16 x 39 3/8in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Property from a private collection, Iran
    Aquired directly from the artist by the present owner

    Mohammad Ehsai is undoubtedly one of the most gifted calligraphers to emerge from Iran within the past century. Utterly devoted the perfection of his craft, Ehsai has married the technical finesse of his formal training within a modern visual schema.

    Traditional Persian calligraphy has historically been rife with ornament and embellishment; with calligraphic texts often accompanied by miniature paintings, encased in cartouches and flanked by a myriad of geometrical and floral motifs. Ehsai's approach to the craft, however, is markedly divergent, and in choosing the pure architecture of the Persian letterform as his principal subject matter, he relinquishes the visual excess of traditional manuscript art.

    The depiction of unadorned script against a monochromatic, often black background not only shifts the focus of the viewer onto the mechanics and minutia of the letterform, but forces the writing to compensate for the now absent decorative elements. Ehsai's text is therefore magnified, monumental, and versatile, filling the empty spaces his text flows with a newfound freedom, taking lifelike, prehensile shapes as Ehsai demonstrates the suppleness and elasticity of Persian nast'aliq.

    What resulted from Ehsai's revision of calligraphic art was a simple but unique visual language, through enlargement, repetition, contrast and layering his works assumed an almost architectural and fractal quality. Ehsai's script not only displays an aesthetic harmony, but through its tremendous intricacy, imitates the unfathomable nature of the divine. Ultimately, Ehsai's contorted letter forms are not written to be understood, emphasizing the ineffability of the deity itself.

    The present painting is a rare example of Ehsai's early work. Executed in a period of life when he was the height of his skills, it shows greater formalism and technical prowess than later, more simplified forms. A master of his craft, Ehsai's bold, striking work is the modern standard-bearer for an artistic tradition spanning over one thousand years.
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Contacts
  1. Nima Sagharchi
    Specialist - Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art
    Bonhams
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