Last November some lucky Iranians in New York got a card in the mail inviting them to attend a reception for an art exhibition. The card read: "The exhibition glorifies the magnificent artistry of the... Qajar dynasty (1794-1925)." Indeed it did.
The show was at the Alex Gallery, owned by Richard Ariyeh, on fashionable 57th Street, and attended by very fashionable Iranians, many of them, presumably, the children and grand children of Qajar princes, or Shazdehs, as they still address themselves.
"These works have been purchased over the years," said Ariyeh, who is the only gallery owner in New York specifically specializing in Iranian art. He said a new show of early examples of Persian calligraphy would be displayed by the Iranian New Year's in March.
Alex Gallery organizes several free lectures a year on Persian art by Dr. Layla S. Diba, associate curator at the Brooklyn Museum's Asian Art Department and 10 percent of sales are donated to the Persian Cultural and Humanitarian Association Educational Fund.
SHEEP IN THE PASTURE (Top photo)
Signed Abul Hassan Sani Ghaffari-Kashani.
Dated November 26, AH 1249/1834 AD. Watercolor, ink and gold on paper.
12.7 x 8.2 inches. $27,500.
SEATED LADY PLAYING THE TAMBOURINE
Fathali Shah period (1797-1834). Oil on canvas. 36.5 x 36 inches. $35,000.
PORTRAIT OF ABBAS QOLI KHAN NURI ON HORSEBACK
Signed by Mirza Hassan Naghash
Dated AH 1274/1864 AD. Watercolor on board. 18.5 x 13 inches. Not priced.
LION SLAYING THE HUNTER
Mid 19th century. Pencil on paper. 9 x 6 inches. $1,500.
RIDER IN THE COUNTRYSIDE
Mid 19th century with 17th century calligraphy. Watercolors, ink and gold.
8.5 x 6 inches. $2,800.
PORTRAIT OF ALI QOLI MIRZA
Signed Mirza Abol Hassan Khan Naghashbashi Ghaffari.
Dated AH 1273/1863 AD. Watercolor, ink and gold on paper. 13 x 8.5 inches. $22,000.
Early 19th century. Watercolors, ink and gold on paper. 17.5 x 12 inches. $2,800.
18th century. Pencil, ink and gold on paper. 3.5 x 5.5 inches. $2,000.
THREE DANCERS AND A MUSICIAN
Early 19th century. Watercolor on paper. 9.7 x 6.7 inches. $7,500.