Iranian Artist Bahman Mohasses

Remembering Mohasses

By Her Majesty Farah Pahlavi

The 1960s in Iran were the years when I encouraged both the government and private sectors to support Contemporary artists and buy their works. During that period, I was deeply involved in the preservation of our ancient art and culture. It was at such a time, at a biennial organized by the Ministry of Culture, that I came to know of Bahman Mohasses, and I later met him privately. He had a wonderful sense of humor and he always made me laugh.

His opinions about politics and society in general were candid and interesting. Amongst the works that I commissioned from him were pieces such as The Flute Player for the City Theater in Tehran, which was broken up and removed by a decree of the Islamic Republic. It is supposed to be currently stored at a warehouse belonging to the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. A fountain commissioned for the mausoleum of RezaShah was also removed by the same decree. Another commissioned piece was a statue of the famed Iranian scientist and By Her Majesty Farah Pahlavi physician, Hossein Malek-Afzali, to be erected in a park donated by him to the city of Mashhad.

Mohasses was a remarkable artist. His cultural heritage was profoundly inspired and enriched by Western mythology, which formed the inspiration of his art and gave rise to his singular creativity. The power of his work rests on his relentless search to strip form to the essential,and to achieve the expressive eloquence of his subject laid bare of all insignificant detail. Besides his paintings and sculptures, his talent encompassed many artistic disciplines, including an important contribution to the then Avant-garde theater in Iran. Years later, following the Islamic Revolution, I met Mohasses in Paris and we continued to keep in touch by telephone. I also tried to put him in touch with several galleries in order to exhibit his work. He always expressed concern about Iran, its current situation and people, and he was always kind enough to ask about my children, especially Prince Reza. I was very apprehensive about the health problems that Mohasses faced and urged him to quit smoking.