Iranian master miniaturist, Hossein Behzad
the son of pen-holder designer, Mirza Lotfollah Esfahani was
born in Tehran in 1894. He was greatly interrested in painting
in his early childhood, and his father put him under the care
of pen-holderdesigner Molla Ali in Madjma-os-Sanayeh The Art
Center to gain miniature painting skills. Behzad once said; an
unkown and obscure feeling, pulled me toward painting, and when
I took pencil or pen following this feeling, I felt like a thirsty
man who reaches a limpid and refreshing spring.
It was not long before his father and his trainer died by the
attack of cholera. The hard and tragic period of the life of
this sensitive and talented child started since this time. Now
Hossdein become the apprentice of Hossein Peikar-Negar who once
was Molla Ali's apprentice. Behzad worked for him for twelve
years developing his experience while making a living. He finally
left Peikar-Negar in the age of 18, and opened a work shop of
his own at Haji- Rahim Khan Caraavansarai near Sabzeh Maidan.
At first Behzad followed the style of old masters like Kamaleddin
Behzad and Reza Abbassi. His works was so skillfully that one
could not tell the difference between his works and the old masters'.
He got married to Azizeh Khanam in 1921, who gave birth to their
only child, Parviz.
Behzad left for France in 1934, stayed in Paris for thirteen
months during which he surveyed various Eastern and Western painting
styles in Louvre, Guimet and Versailles museums. The result of
this trip was the invention of a new style in miniature art by
Behzad. He states aboutthis travel as;
My talent budded and I become aware of my ability, my fingers
attained new sensation and passion.
After his return from Pariss, Behzad stopped imitating old masters
works, while pursuing the miniature principles.
MY study in various Iranian and foreign miniature styles aimed
to create a new Iranian style conformed with the modern art.
Miniature painting which had been turned to undesirable and unbecoming
art, was gradually dispearing and I tried to bring a new style
to save it from falling into oblivion.
On the occasion of the Avicenna millenium in 1953, an exhibition
of Behzad's works was held at the Iran Bastan Museum which drew
attention of Orientalist guests from 64 countries. Turkish miniaturist
and the professor of medicine. Solheil Anvar wrote in an article
in Vatan newspaper published in Istanbul as;
Behzad, this great artist belongs not only to Iran but also to
the world. The French newspapers published many articles in praise
of this Iranian artist.
The Iran Bastan exhibition was a big start for Behzad to win
the fame worldwide. Following it, an exhibition of his works
was held in Modern Art Museum in Paris by the French government
and several exhibitionss in the Libtary of Congfess of the United
States was welcomed and praised by Americans.
Behzad trained some trainees during his productive artistic life,
one of the most famous is engineer Mohammad Naseripour, who was
his accompany and now is a miniaturist pursung Behzad's style.
Hossein Behzad fell sick and was bed-ridden during the latter
part of his life and due to the aggravated illness he passed
away on sunday 21st. Mehr 1347 H.S. - 13th. Oct. 1968 at 8;40
p.m. He was buried at the cemetry adjasent to Imamzadeh Abdullah
in Rey, not far from Tehan.
1. Olympic Diploma for the best painting at the Olympic Painting
Exhibition in Helsinki, 1952
2. Avicenna Medal from Iran-Bastan Museum 1953
3. Honorary Diploma from The International Exhibition in Belgium
4. First Class Medal from the International Painting competition
in Minneapolis 1958.
5. First Class Art Medal from the Ministry of Culture and Fine
6. First Class Medal from the Ministry of Education.
7. Honorary title of Art Master by the Council of the Art Instructors
of the College
of Decorative Arts, Tehran, 1968.
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