and grows up between Behbahān and Ahwaz in Iran.
moves to Orumiyyeh, in the Azerbaijan region.
Vaziri tries his hand
at oil paint for the first time.
He obtains his diploma from secondary
school at the Agricultural Institute.
He meets an old friend who is studying architecture
and he tells him about the Academy of Fine Arts, in Teheran.
He decides to apply for the entrance test.
He is admitted into the Academy and he starts his classes.
The artistic production of those years revolves around
landscapes, portraits and people in their everyday life.
In his second and third year of studies at the Academy, he also devotes himself to music and studies the violin.
He makes his first oil paintings on canvas, Figurative Paintings,
as well as his first plaster sculpture.
He graduates from the Academy and proves to be the best student. He works as an art teacher at the Fine Arts National Bureau in Tehran.
He works as a graphic designer at the Ministry of Culture within the Truman’s Point Four Program Organisation for three years.
He holds his first solo exhibition at the Iran-America
Society. He displays his figurative works.
In the spring of 1954, an exhibition of his work is held
at the German-Iranian Cultural Institute, thanks to
Parviz Nattel-Khanlari, a professor at Tehran University.
He decides to go to Europe. He leaves for Italy
in August and in September he is accepted
at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.
Being at the academy meant being in close contact with the country’s art and culture, having conversations with professors, visiting museums and taking part in class discussions, comparing different art forms; little by little, that experience was giving me what I was looking for.
In the summer of 1956, he leaves for Denmark where
he paints still lifes and landscapes on paper. He visits
important museums in Copenhagen. Sees Van Gogh
and Rembrandt’s paintings in real life for the very first time.
He makes his first
He paints city views and
Professor Gentilini, a painting professor at the Rome Academy, organises an exhibition of Vaziri’s Figurative Paintings at the Portonovo Gallery in Rome.
The collection is the result of an original experiment using
Iranian traditional elements.
On the 30th June of 1957 an exhibition of his figurative
works is held at the Die Brucke Gallery in Düsseldorf,
which then moves to the Stenzel Gallery in Munich.
He wins the Mayor of Rome’s Medal at the 7th Art Fair of
Via Margutta – Rome’s International Artistic Association.
He leaves for the Netherlands where he continues to
visit museums and paint landscapes.
The Schneider Gallery in Rome displays Vaziri’s most recent
paintings, combining Eastern and Western elements.
He starts moving away from realistic paintings,
preferring abstract forms.
He meets Toti Scialoja, painter and professor at the Rome
Academy; he asks him for an opinion about his paintings:
'If you want to be a normal painter then keep going like this but if you are trying to become an artist, forget everything you have done and start all over again’.
It wasn’t an easy task after all the tensions I had felt. However, I decided to leave my past behind and attended his classes for six months, doing all sorts of practice. It was during this time that I learnt the concept of abstract painting and how to create visual spaces.
He takes part in the 29th Venice Biennale with his work
Una città persiana (A Persian city).
He wins the bronze medal and a Diploma of Merit (reserved for
foreign artists) at the 8th Art Fair of Via Margutta – Rome’s
International Artistic Association.
He is awarded a ‘San Vito Romano’ Diploma of Special Merit
and a Silver Medal by the Rome Tourism Board.
As time goes by, he moves away from realistic paintings
and he starts studying materials, patterns, rhythm
and lines’ expressive representations.
During these years, he is strongly influenced by European
Informalism as well as the American abstract
expressionism that arrived in Europe through a series
of travelling exhibitions.
He produces the series Form and space.
On the 28th of December he takes part in the 8th National
Art Quadriennale in Rome at Palazzo delle Esposizioni.
He exhibits one of his abstract works at the 7th extemporary
competition for the National Painting Prize ‘Marina di Ravenna’ and he receives a Diploma of Honour and a prize by the Prime Minister (Gold - silver artistic cup).
The painting Rhythm of the fishing net on the canal becomes part of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers’ collection.
He graduates from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome with
a thesis on Mondrian and his influence on 20th-century art.
He participates in the 9th National Contemporary Art
Exhibition Maggio di Bari with a painting entitled The Night.
He is still seeking a unique and individual style and he does in the late spring of 1959, on the shores of Lake Albano, which are covered in black sand. It will be a turning point in his artistic career:
I was playing with black sand on the shore and entertaining my friends. Suddenly, the traces of my fingers on the sand caught my attention: I had an idea and memories of my childhood and playing with sand as a child came flooding back…. A trivial game turned into a visual practice. I stopped playing with my friends and I went back to Rome with a bag of sand. Finding shapes in sand turned into a past time and it took me months to transfer the patterns I found onto a canvas.
After a few attempts, on the 2nd of January, he produces
what he himself called My first sand painting.
A few months later, he produces the Monotypes series.
He takes part in the 2nd Painting Biennale in Tehran presenting three works and receives the first prize, i.e. the Royal Grand Prize.
He takes part in the 30th Venice Biennale with Rhythmic movement.
In September, the Deutscher Bucherbund in Munich
organises an exhibition of his sand paintings.
Giulio Carlo Argan, professor of Modern Art History
at the University of Rome and director of the Art Critics’ Society,
writes the preface to the catalogue.
In November, the same exhibition is then brought to the
Markisches Museum in Withen in Germany and is widely
reported in the press.
HHe exhibits his latest sand works and opens a solo
exhibition at the Galleria del Numero in Rome.
He takes part in the One hundred abstract painters exhibition at the Pistoia Museum in Italy.
He takes part in the 10 foreign artists exhibition at
Galleria Numero in Florence.
In March, the Galleria Numero in Milan exhibits
a selection of Vaziri’s sand paintings.
The same exhibition travels to the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) Library in London.
He takes part in the International painting competition Piccola Europa in Sassoferrato (Italy) and he is awarded the Senate’s Gold Medal.
In spring, the 3rd Art Biennale in Tehran opens and Professor
Argan sits in the jury. Vaziri’s sand works are nominated
for a Diploma of Merit and he wins the Gold Medal.
The Queen of Iran Farah Diba visits the exhibition.
He takes part in the 31st Venice Biennale with 3 works.
July - September: he takes part in an exhibition
at Redfern Gallery in London.
In July, he makes a brief visit to Iran. While he is in Tehran,
the Fine Arts National Bureau organises an exhibition
of sand works and a series of Monotypes at Farhang Hall.
The exhibition is opened by the Minister of Education
Dr. Nātel Khanlari.
The Journal de Teheran writes an article on Vaziri’s life and works explaining how he makes his sand works. The French translation of the Professor Argan’s article is published (Human Hand on Earth).
Vaziri represents Iran at the Sao Paulo International
Biennale in Brazil where he exhibits three of his sand paintings.
From the 5th to the 26th March, the George Lester Gallery
in Rome holds an exhibition of his last sand paintings
attracting the attention of many Italian art critics.
Palma Bucarelli, the National Modern Art Gallery’s director,
visits the exhibition.
In summer, he participates as a guest to the 4th International Art Biennale Oltre l'informale in the Republic of San Marino (Kursaal Palace) with some of his sand paintings.
He moves to Iran with his partner but they won’t
live together for very long.
In the autumn, he loses his mother.
The Ministry of Art and Culture asks Vaziri to teach
at the Male Arts College in Tehran. He works there
for two years. The same year, following an invitation
by Hushang Seyhoun, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, the artist
works with Mahmud Javādipur as a university teacher.
In November and December, the Carnegie Institute Museum
in Pittsburgh, in the United States, organises an exhibition
featuring artists from 35 countries: one of Vaziri’s sand
paintings, lent by the Lester Gallery, is exhibited together with
works by Hans Arp, Pierre Soulages, Eduardo Chillida
and other international artists.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York
purchases one of Vaziri’s sand paintings for
He exhibits at the 32nd Venice Biennale.
He starts teaching at the Faculty of Decorative Arts
in Tehran (the current University of Art).
He will teach there until 1975.
I used to teach painting techniques classes, as well as drawing and colour. My main responsibility was to open the student’s mind to artistic creativity. I told them how to look at nature, how to follow their imagination and artistic ideas and help them visualise their inner world onto the canvas. I remembered several artistic techniques and I taught students how to use visual media and different materials. Needless to say, at the core of all this, there was drawing.
At that time, he moves into a house with an old garden.
He produces tri-dimensional works of large dimensions.
He lives and works in this house for over ten years.
His students pay him a visit every once in a while.
Vaziri gives classes on Mondrian and Kandinsky
at the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Faculty
of Decorative Arts.
He produces new works using sheets of cardboard and fiberglass.
He exhibits these new works at the Seyhoun Gallery in
Tehran. The Queen of Iran Farah Diba visits the exhibition.
He receives a one-year grant at Cité des Arts in Paris
by the French Ministry of Art and Culture.
In Paris, he finds a material that he has never seen in Iran,
some very thin and shiny aluminium sheets that he will use
to make sculptures that, until then, he has made with cardboard.
This year he produces the Metal reliefs series.
Vaziri and other Iranian artists’ works are displayed at the
Royan International Festival. They were then exhibited
in the head office of French television.
In September, Vaziri’s metal reliefs are exhibited at a contemporary artists’ group show at the Art Festival in Shiraz.
He continues experimenting with tri-dimensional works and focuses on aluminium and iron sheets as well as visual dynamism, using several colours.
He also starts teaching at the Faculty of Fine Arts.
Shortly after, he embarks upon a new artistic journey through a series of still and moving sculptures.
Following my experience with metal reliefs, I started working on wood sculptures. I left behind the metal strips and focused on the pieces of wood between them. To start with, I attached wood pieces together creating 90 degrees angles; sometimes it was entire pieces of wood, other times it was wood in an arched shape or with holes. The rational evolution of these still sculptures pushed me to produce a series of articulated sculptures. At the beginning of the 1970s, instead of simply attaching wood pieces, I started joining them with bolts and nuts so that they could open and close, just like human joints.
The Iran-America Society organises an exhibition of Vaziri’s
wood sculptures called Transitional forms.
In April, he exhibits his sculptures at the Cagnes-sur-Mer
International Festival in France.
The Tyler Art School of Rome, in connection with the Pennsylvania Temple University, displays a collection of his wood sculptures. Professor Argan writes the preface
to the catalogue.
The Seyhoun Gallery organizes an exhibition entitled 10 years of Mohsen Vaziri, displaying the last 10 years of Vaziri’s art pieces.
The Litho Art Gallery in Tehran organises an exhibition
of Vaziri’s articulated sculptures. In the meantime,
Vaziri is drafting two books: Drawing method for art academies, and Painting guide for art faculties.
He makes a wood mobile sculpture known as Pardis (Paradise).
A few months later, he will build some small Pardis using plexiglass sheets.
Under the patronage of the Ministry of Art and Culture, the
exhibition Mohsen Vaziri: a retrospective (1955-1975)
is held at the Takhte-Jamshid Gallery in Tehran.
He produces some colourful and articulated reliefs,
heralding a new stage of his artistic journey.
Cut, painted and shapeless pieces change position not only
in relation to themselves but also to the background,
offering the viewer the opportunity to take part in the
creative process interacting with the works.
He exhibits some Pardis at the Seyhoun Gallery in Tehran.
It is his last year of teaching at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Tehran.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Seyhoun Gallery in Tehran, the gallery organises an exhibition of Vaziri’s latest works. With the exception of some small Pardis pieces, his new works mark a return to mono-dimensional work.
This same year, he continues his painting research. He produces the Fear and flight series.
Alberto Moravia, writer, journalist and one of the most prominent 20th century novelists, visits Iran and pays a visit to Vaziri. They spend a whole day together visiting Varāmin, an ancient Zoroastrian site, south of Tehran.
The Goethe Institute in Tehran organises an exhibition of works by Behjat Sadr, Kamran Katuzian, Jangiz Shahvaq and Mohsen Vaziri-Moghaddam.
In October, the Santoro Gallery in Rome organises
an exhibition of reliefs, paintings and small Pardis pieces.
His latest works catch the attention of Italian critics and curators.
The Mayor of Rome Giulio Carlo Argan also visits
Alberto Moravia writes an article called Eco passate nell’arte
di Vasiri (Echoes of the past in Vasiri’s art).
Toni Maraini, writer and art historian, writes an article entitled Falce gelida e volo della colomba (The cold sickle and the dove’s flight) analysing the Fear and Flight series.
In October, the Contemporary Art Museum opens in Tehran and
Vaziri’s works are displayed there, together with other artists.
Pierre Restany, a well-known French art critic, is invited to the
opening ceremony and visits Vaziri in his studio.
They spend one day together and, before leaving Tehran,
Restany expresses his observations in a letter, Quelques istants
de la solitude de Vasiri (Some moments of Vasiri’s solitude).
Towards the end of September, some of Vaziri’s latest paintings
are exhibited at the Basel International Art Fair, together with
some other Iranian contemporary artists.
He marries Zahrā Shariatmadāri, a friend of his sister
that he met 5 years before.
His son Houman is born.
Vaziri publishes the first volume of Drawing method
that will be reprinted 10 times over the years.
His second son Hamoun is born.
The Khāneye-Sabz Art Gallery in Tehran organises an important exhibition called A retrospective: Mohsen Vaziri-Moghaddam from 1953 to 1983.
The Italian Cultural Institute in Tehran exhibits some of Vaziri’s works. Bruno Bellone, the director of the institute, writes a preface to the catalogue.
He leaves Tehran and moves to Rome with his family, where
he is still living today. In the following years, Vaziri will always
continue to paint without losing the desire to pursue his
search for new strokes and colours.
Vaziri takes a series of his latest works to Tehran and they are exhibited at the Barg Gallery, together with some older works. To celebrate this occasion, Jalāl Sattāri, professor of history and philosophy at the University of Tehran, writes an article on Vaziri’s work.
He paints the Calligraphies series.
The idea goes back to 1992: I wanted to hint at minimalist lines without thinking about what calligraphers and painters were doing with calligraphy. And I think I managed.
He experiments with the collage technique.
Soroush Publications publishes the first edition of The Mind and Work of Paul Klee by Werner Hahtmann, translated by Mohsen Vaziri-Moghaddam.
Soroush publishes the second volume of Drawing method,
the book that Vaziri wrote a few years before for graphic
One of Vaziri’s sand paintings is exhibited at the Barbican
Centre in London within the group show Iranian
Contemporary Art, curated by Rose Issa.
Following an invitation by the Central Office for Culture and the
Islamic guide of the Fars province, Vaziri gives a lesson entitled
Artistic education in Iran and abroad in the city of Shiraz.
The Seyhoun Gallery in Tehran organises a retrospective of
his works from 1947 until this year.
He takes part in the International Contemporary Art Exhibition
Palestine, key to culture and peace, in Ancona, Italy.
He is affected by macular degeneration.
He exhibits at the Contemporary Art Museum in Tehran at the 4th edition of Pioneers of Modern Iranian Art of together with Gerhard Richter, where he is hailed as the most important Iranian painter of the century.
The Islamic Culture Centre invites Vaziri to give a lesson entitled The relationship between teacher and pupils in Iran and in the world in the city of Sāri, in the north of Iran.
He takes part in the 31st Sulmona Prize, at the International Contemporary Art Exhibition in Aquila, Italy.
Despite his eye disease, after two years of artistic inactivity,
he starts working again and produces the Cosmic series.
He will exhibit a series of paintings at the Asia Gallery in Tehran
and at the Shiveh Gallery in Shiraz.
An article on Vaziri’s sculptures comes out on the Honar -
Mojassameh (Art, Sculpture) Magazine of the Iranian Sculptors
Association in Teheran.
On the 14th July he is awarded the European Personality
of the Year by the Municipality of Rome.
His work goes to auction at Christie’s in Dubai for the first time.
He exhibits at the Dey Gallery in Tehran and, this same year,
at the Parvāz Gallery at the University of Yazd in Iran.
A few months later, the Hoor Art Gallery in Tehran exhibits
some of his first sand paintings from 1960.
Ue takes part in a cycle of exhibitions called Six Weeks of Iranian Art in Toronto, Canada. His Monotypes, sand paintings and the Forms in Movement sculpture (part of the Transitional shapes series) are exhibited.
The Art Gallery Dove exhibits some of Vaziri’s sand paintings
Some abstract paintings produced this year are exhibited at
the Hoor Art Gallery in Tehran.
Despite his eye disease, Vaziri decides to write his
autobiography, working at it day and night, and he completes
it within one month.
In July, he takes part in the 4th edition of the
Teramo open city – an international cultural event.
A solo show entitled Homage to Mohsen Vaziri - a bridge
between East and West is organised for the occasion and
curated by Alberto Melarangelo.
He exhibits at the Tarrāhāne Āzād d Gallery in Tehran.
His work goes to auction at Bonhams in Dubai for the first time.
He takes part in an exhibition at the Elah Gallery in Tehran
with some of his paintings.
He exhibits his Collages at the Hoor Art Gallery.
In May, he exhibits a series of sand paintings at Studioplano
The Saatchi Gallery in London exhibits one of Vaziri’s sand
painting in the Perspectives: Arab & Iranian Modern
His work goes to auction at Sotheby’s in New York for the first time.
The Ahwaz Museum of Contemporary Art in Iran organises an extensive solo show of Vaziri’s work, exhibiting over 250 sculptures and paintings.
The Farvahar Art Gallery organises an exhibition entitled
A Selection of Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam Art Works.
14 Goftar (14 Articles about the Painting, Graphic & Sculpture) is published; it is a collection of lessons held by Vaziri from 1969 to 1978 during his teaching years at the Fine Arts Academy at the University of Tehran. This also contains a translation of an article called Arte Grafica Espressionista tedesca (German Expressionist graphic art) from Italian into Farsi.
The Tarrāhāne Āzād Gallery exhibits some paintings dating
back from 1959 and some paintings from the Cosmic series.
He is invited by the Asia Society Museum in New York to take part in the Iran Modern exhibition where his Shapes in Movement sculpture and sand painting from the Museum of Modern Art in New York are exhibited.
He exhibits within the Iranian Masters of Abstract Painting
exhibition at the ATBIN Art Gallery in Tehran.
The Meshkati Fine Art & Austin/Desmond Fine Art hosts Vaziri at the Art 14 fair in London. Plexiglass structures from the Pardis series, sand paintings and drawings from the Calligraphies series are exhibited there.
The sculpture Shapes in Movement is transferred from New York to the Fundação Casa França-Brasil, for the exhibition Artevida corpo in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
During summer, after an idle period, he produces a series of abstract paintings on paper.
The Tarrāhāne Āzād Gallery in Tehran exhibits a series of
Monotypes from 1960 and some of his recent summer paintings.
The Khāk Gallery in Tehran organises an exhibition entitled
Intuition of Colour - Recent Art works of Mohsen Vaziri
In March, he takes part in the Dubai Art Fair through the Etemad Art Gallery with his sand paintings, the Fear and Flight series and a sculpture from the Pardis series.
His autobiography entitled Memoirs, written in 2008,
will be published soon.