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10 Picasso’s Artworks Found Hidden in Iran And Will Be Included In An Exhibition

Aug 08, 2018
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The Artworks of Picasso founded in Iran at The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, that is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of postwar Western artworks, but these pieces have rarely been seen by the public. Since Iran’s 1979 revolution, the museum locked its North American and European collections in a basement vault, where many of the works have stayed for decades.

But the museum is planning a major exhibition that will showcase its elusive artworks, including a number of major pieces that were recently re-discovered in the collections.
The exhibition is titled “Portrait, Still-life, Landscape” will be staged across the entire museum when it launches in February of next year. Up to 500 works from the museum’s 3000-strong collection will be on display, and the show will spotlight both Western and Middle Eastern art.

Art works by Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp, and Mark Rothko also will be displayed alongside works by Iranian artists such as Bobak Etminani and Mahsa Karimizadeh.

Mattijs Visser, a Dutch architect and the show’s curator, saiad: “I don’t want to be pretentious and focus on big names. I want to mix up everything so that people can really see something which they have never seen before.”

Curators had previously known only two Picasso’s art works in the museum’s possession, but an additional 10 “forgotten” Picassos were found during the renovation, and these pieces will be among the long-hidden works going on display next year. A lost drawing by Marcel Duchamp was also found, and Visser tells that he anticipates more discoveries will be made in the future.

Farah Pahlavi, the former empress of Iran, pushed for the creation of a museum of modern art in Iran in the early 1970s. Curators amassed a huge and rich collection of North American and European masterpieces for TMoCA’s inauguration in 1977, the same year major demonstrations were beginning against Pahlavi’s husband, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last shah of Iran.

When the revolution erupted, and the shah and the empress fled Iran, the museum’s holdings were shuttled into its basement. In recent years, after international sanctions on Iran were lifted and the country’s chilly relationship with the West has shown signs of a slight thaw, the museum has started putting more of its hidden artworks on display. In 2015, the museum staged a major exhibition that placed Western and Iranian artists side by side.

For the first time ever, the museum made arrangements that year to show its artworks outside of Iran with an exhibition in Berlin, but plans for the show fell through, due to fears that the former shah’s family would try to claim the artworks if they left Iran.

“Portrait, Still-life, Landscape” will not travel to any other country, and Visser tells that he does not expect to face censorship from authorities. Visser is playing it safe with his curatorial selections; the new exhibition will not feature overtly political works or any nudes because, and he says to smithsonianmag.com that he is not interested in provocation.

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