Sohrab Sepehri (Iran, 1928-1980) Untitled (Abstract Flora and Fauna)

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Lot 64*
Sohrab Sepehri
(Iran, 1928-1980)
Untitled (Abstract Flora and Fauna)
Sold for £ 80,500 (US$ 104,732) inc. premium

Lot Details
Sohrab Sepehri (Iran, 1928-1980)
Untitled (Abstract Flora and Fauna)
oil on canvas, framed
signed in Farsi (lower right), executed in 1975
100 x 100cm

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Property from a private collection, Massacheusetts
    Acquired by the above from Gallery Borghese, Tehran, 1975

    In its grace, naturalism, and sophistication, it is a work utterly faithful to the tenets of Sepehri's oeuvre; demonstrating an almost perfect confluence of Sepehri's strong representational impulse propelled by his love of the vernacular of Kashan and the more opaque abstraction inherited from the Eastern painting traditions he was so fluently versed in.

    Poet, artist and intellectual, Sepehri's mild manner and withdrawn persona belied the richness of expression manifest in his works. Enraptured by nature, Sepehri had a deep and profound attachment to the topography of his native Kashan, the "oasis city" where trees and vegetation sprung amidst the arid desert. The genesis of all of Sepehri's work was firmly rooted in this landscape, and whilst he is sometimes miscategorised as an artist solely pre-occupied with nature, the fullness of Sepehri's veneration of nature finds as potent a fruition in his representation of the dwellings that inhabit it.

    Sepehri had a firm belief in the inherent grace and nobility of the nature he so admired. Inspired by Eastern traditions, with which he had direct contact during travels in India and Japan, Sepehri came to see the purity of the natural world as an antidote to the corruption of the human condition. Thus, when depicting human and architectural subject matters, Sepehri carried the tonal, textural and botanical qualities of nature into his compositions.

    This is a testament to the harmonious symbiosis between nature and civilization in the rural context; buildings composed of local materials in a vernacular architectural language are thoroughly embedded with their landscape, they do not dominate or seek to conquer and subjugate in the manner of the dehumanizing urban sprawl Sepehri so dreaded when he exclaimed his "fear of cities where the black earth is pasture to cranes".

    Stylistically, the present work is a scintillating example of the very palpable sense of tension between naturalism and abstraction manifest in Sepehri's work. Sepehri was conceptually engaged by the universality of Zen painting, its advocacy of tonal minimalism, and its shedding of excess and detail in favour of exploring true meaning through a process of efficient meditative brushstrokes, however this was heavily tempered by his desire not to forsake the identity of his surroundings, ultimately, his attachment and love for his native home would never grant abstraction a total victory, and it is in this tension, that artistic sincerity is most deeply revealed.
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