Composition Four, 1967
Abby Grey purchased Pakbaz’s Composition Four, seen here, and Composition One (G1975.107) during a visit to the Ghandriz Gallery in 1973. Although more minimalist than works by the artist’s peers, these dimensional constructions suggest the geometric forms of buildings and mosques in Iran that they were also referencing; similarly, Pakbaz’s metallic hues mimic the colors commonly found in Persian illuminations, calligraphy, and architecture.
Best known as a pioneering art historian, scholar, and critic, Pakbaz studied painting at the University of Tehran, where, after continuing his education in France, he taught art history beginning in 1976. He was a founding member of the radical art space Talar-e Iran—Iran Gallery (1964–78), later renamed the Ghandriz Gallery—which helped him chronicle Iranian visual culture of the period.
Pakbaz has written widely on modern and contemporary art in Iran, mostly in Persian, including in Contemporary Iranian Painting and Sculpture (1974), the most extensive art-historical publication on modern Iranian art of its time. Among his other influential publications are the Encyclopedia of Art (1999), a comprehensive account of Iranian art; Iranian Painting: From the Prehistoric Era to the Present Day (2000); the co-authored Iranian Contemporary Art (2001); and Dictionary of Art Terms and Artists (2010), which serves as a bilingual dictionary in the English and Persian languages. He currently resides in Tehran.