The Extraordinary Journey of Behjat Sadr: 5 Ways She Revolutionized Modern Art

Behjat Sadr, a name synonymous with innovation in modern art, was an Iranian painter (May 1924 – 10 August 2009) whose works graced galleries in New York, Paris, and Rome. Known for her pioneering use of a palette knife on canvases and metallic surfaces, Sadr created dynamic visual rhythms, movements, and geometric shapes that captured the essence of her artistic vision.

Born in Arak, Iran, Behjat Sadr pursued her passion for art at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Tehran. Her talent and dedication earned her a scholarship to Italy, where she studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli in Naples. It was in Rome that she embraced an abstract approach, setting her apart from traditional academic painting.

Sadr’s first major exhibition took place at the Gallery La Bussola in Rome in 1958, following her participation in the twenty-eighth Venice Biennale in 1956, where she won the second prize of San Vito Romano. During her time in Rome, she forged a deep friendship with Persian poet Forough Farrokhzad and met her second husband, Persian composer Morteza Hannaneh, with whom she had her only child, Kakuti (Mitra) Hannaneh.

In 1957, Behjat Sadr returned to the University of Tehran as a professor, despite opportunities to further her painting career in Rome and Paris. She taught at the university for nearly 20 years, significantly influencing the next generation of Iranian artists.

Sadr’s accolades include the Royal Grand Prize at the Tehran Biennale in 1962. She participated in international art fairs such as the Venice Biennale and the Sao Paulo Biennale and held numerous personal and group exhibitions. She spent two years in Paris on sabbatical in 1968 and 1975, further honing her craft and expanding her influence.

In 1980, a year after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Sadr and her daughter moved to Paris, where she continued her artistic endeavors.

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July 4, 2024 | 9:34 pm