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g1975.25-sadr,-behjat.jpg


Behjat Sadr, Abstract I, n.d.
oil on canvas, sight:  6 1/2 x 10 3/8 inches (16.5 x 26.4 cm)
Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection
Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.25

Behjat Sadr was educated in Italy, at the Accademia di Belle Arti, first in Rome and then in Naples, where she received a degree in 1957. Unlike a number of her colleagues, Sadr admitted that she did not explicitly reference calligraphy in her abstract paintings.1 However, her technical process shares some similarities with calligraphy that speak to the overall relationship between painting and calligraphy, two media linked throughout the history of Persian art. For example, Sadr's use of the palette knife parallels the calligrapher's use of the qalam (dried reed writing tool), and she noted that the prevalence of the color black in her work references calligraphy.2 Her paintings trace the ebb and flow of gestural movements in a manner similar to that of European Abstract Expressionists such as Pierre Soulages. Sadr's version of abstraction is, however, specifically Iranian. Her palette of natural colors drawn from the local landscape recalls the pale tones used by Marcos Grigorian and Sohrab Sepehri.

1. Fariba Amini, "Playing with Reality," The Iranian, December 13, 2002.
2. Ibid.