Manoucher Yektai (Iran, born 1922) Still Life

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Lot 33*
Manoucher Yektai
(Iran, born 1922)
Still Life

Sold for £ 112,562 (US$ 147,000) inc. premium
Manoucher Yektai (Iran, born 1922)
Still Life
oil and mixed media on canvas
signed "Yektai 76" (bottom middle), executed in 1976
122 x 87cm (48 1/16 x 34 1/4in).

Footnotes

  • LOTS 33-39: PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF A DISTINGUISHED IRANIAN ACADEMIC IN NORTH AMERICA

    Provenance:
    Property from the estate of a distinguished Iranian academic, California

    Bonhams have the rare honour of presenting one of the most formidable examples of Manoucher Yektai's inimitable and striking expressionist still life compositions. A painting of remarkable pedigree, "Still Life With Vase" comes back to the market for the first time since being acquired directly from the artist by a renowned Iranian academic

    Monumental, powerful and enigmatic, "Still Life With Vase" exhibits all the lyrical intensity of Yektai's dramatic technique; an artist at the creative high point of his career, Yektai's work is exemplified by exhilarating lyric flurries of paint, thick rapier like strokes, and a virtuoso handling of impasto.

    Typical of his later more tightly ordered, paired down still life compositions "Still Life With Vase",is imbued with a palpable sense of grace and serenity. Whilst we may notice the influence of action painting on Yektai's style with its powerful, energetic technique evident in the torrent of lush impastoed strokes which emanate from the vase, this painterly looseness is channeled within a well-contained, tight composition – the unlikely harmony of freedom and discipline writ large in paint.

    Born in Tehran, Yektai is considered one of the unsung founders of the New York School of Abstract Expressionism. After an early encounter with Iranian painter Mehdi Vishkaei, Yektai decided almost overnight to become an artist, failing to show up for his school exams one morning and proclaiming that he was destined to be a painter.

    Renowned for shunning easel painting, Yektai's habit of working his canvases from the floor stem from a painting session in the outskirts of Tehran in the 1930's, where he found himself unable to work with his canvas propped against a tree due to the wind, ending up finishing the composition on the ground, a method that would stay with him for his whole career, and one to which he attributes much of his dynamism and artistic freedom.

    Between 1945 and 1947, he studied with Amédée Ozenfant in Paris, France, and later in New York City. In 1951 and 1952 Leo Castelli brought some friends, including early Abstract-Expressionist painters, to see Yektai's New York exhibitions shows. Castelli introduced him to the 9th Street Club in 1951 and he soon became a friend of Rothko,Tobey, Guston, and others. In the mid-1950S he was included in classic group exhibitions of early Abstract-Expressionism at the Stable Gallery and elsewhere, with older generation artists such as DeKooning, Pollock, Newman, and Kline. From 1957 till 1965 he showed at Poindexter. With this background it would be easy to regard Yektai as a key member of the New York School.

    Conceptually and stylistically, the present work is a fascinating example of the very subtle sense of tension between naturalism and abstraction manifest in Yektais work. Firmly established as one of the founding members of the New York School of Abstract Expressionism, Yektai's work was shaped and informed by his artistic milieu: luminaries such as Rothko, Pollock, De Kooning and Kline.

    It is notable however that throughout his work the submission to abstraction is never complete, and that the artists love and appreciation of tangible forms ensures a strong presence of naturalism in his compositions. Yektai's desire not to forsake the identity of his surroundings, ultimately, his attachment to natural forms would not grant abstraction a total victory, and it is in this tension that his artistic sincerity is most deeply revealed.
Contacts
Manoucher Yektai (Iran, born 1922) Still Life
Manoucher Yektai (Iran, born 1922) Still Life
Manoucher Yektai (Iran, born 1922) Still Life
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