NEWSLETTER"When I go to an art gallery and stand in front of a painting, I don't want someone telling me what I should be seeing or thinking; I want to feel whatever I feel, see whatever I see, and figure out what I figure out."- James Frey
Sahand Rafii Tabatabai was born and raised in Iran in the 1940's and 50's where he apprenticed with an Iranian master of Persian painting and miniature art. He first came to the U.S. in 1958 to attend university. After earning his bachelor's degree in art with a minor in modern dance, he returned to Iran where he was the beloved school teacher in a remote village in northern Iran located on the border of the Soviet Union. In the village he befriended and drew portraits of everyone from the villagers, to the border guards, to his students, and he captured the unique beauty of the surrounding landscape. Sahand returned to the U.S. in 1970, settled in Boulder and became a naturalized American citizen.
Tabatabai's first major show was in the 1964 Tehran Biennial at the Tehran Museum of Fine Arts. In the U.S. his work became known in the 1980's. He has had numerous one-person shows and participated in countless group shows in Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kansas, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has been represented by galleries in Denver and Aspen. Tabatabai's paintings are in
the permanent collection of the Denver Art Museum, shown in Colorado
Biennials and in the Santa Fe Biennial, and featured on the cover of the Denver Art Museum magazine, Off the Wall.
In the late 1980's a well known art critic from New York discovered Tabatabai at the Denver Art Museum. The critic's acclaim drew the attention of numerous collectors in Colorado and New York City elevating his recognition to a new level. Tabatabai was represented by Lohin Geduld Gallery in Manhattan. As a result Sahand opened a second studio in the Lower East Side, living and working in New York City for more than 20 years, while spending summers with family and friends back home in Boulder.
Tabatabai's passion is painting, drawing, and sculpture. His fundamental training and understanding of real figurative art and landscape create the foundation for his deep exploration of the conceptual, and his extensive bodies of work in the abstract. His inspiration continually springs from his love and fascination with the natural world, both western and eastern art, as well as his relationships with beloved friends, family, and especially the children in his life.
Sahand continues to paint daily in his custom-built studio surrounded by his garden in north Boulder.