Parviz Tanavoli

born 1937

In Tate Modern

Biography

Parviz Tanavoli (born 24 March 1937 in Tehran) is an Iranian sculptor, painter, scholar and art collector. Since 1989 he has lived and worked both in Tehran and Vancouver, Canada.

Tanavoli's work has been auctioned around the world leading to overall sales of over $9 million, making him the most expensive living Iranian artist. His Wall “Oh Persepolis” fetched $2.84 million at a Dubai Christie’s sale, in 2008, an auction record for a Middle Easton artist.* Tanavoli is known for his heeches, three dimensional representations of the Persian word for 'nothing', heech. Composed of three Persian characters in the style of nasta'liq, the three letters he, ye and če are combined to produce the word ‘heech’.

His heeches are displayed in prestigious museums and public places such as British Museum, Metropolitan Museum, Hamline University, St. Paul Minnesota, Aga Khan Museum, Toronto and in the city of Vancouver.

Upon graduating from the Brera Academy of Milan in 1959, 1960 returned to Iran and taught sculpting at the Tehran College of Decorative Arts. 1961, Tanavoli taught sculpture for three years at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He then returned to Iran and assumed the directorship of the sculpture department at the University of Tehran, a position he held for 18 years until 1979, when he retired from his teaching duties.

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