Bahram Alivandi

Bahram Alivandi (b. 1928) is an Iranian-born contemporary artist living in Vienna, Austria. He is known primarily for his paintings, which typically depict Persian legends and express oriental mysticism, but he has also produced a number of wall tapestries that, like his works on canvas, demonstrate his own instantly recognisable visual language.


Alivandi was born in Fars Province in the South of Iran in 1928. He gained his artistic training in Tehran, initially at the Kamal-ol-Molk School of Art and later, under the tuition of French masters, at Tehran's School of Fine Arts (closely modeled on the French École des Beaux-Arts), from which he graduated with distinction. He completed a further degree in painting at the College of Decorative Arts, Tehran. In 1959 he was appointed by the Ministry of Education, teaching painting at the Workshop of National Art, a post that he held for 20 years. During this time he became familiar with a variety of traditional Persian arts such as the Miniature, Ceramics, Tapestries, and Silversmithery.

During this time Alivandi was one of Iran's leading modernists, but he left Iran following the Islamic revolution of 1979 to escape the repression and censorisation of all free artistic expression.

He has lived and worked in Vienna since 1978.

Alivandi belongs to a respected generation of Iranian artists who are important figures in contemporary Iranian art, including Massoud Arabshahi, Nasser Ovissi, Parviz Tanavoli, and Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, to all of whom he is well known.

Artistic style

Alivandi's work is rich in symbolism and oriental motifs, such as the fish, gazelle, and horse, which are traditional motifs of Persian miniatures. He draws influence from Persian culture, depicting stories from legends and epic poetry by important figures like Ferdowsi. Some of his work is influenced by the war situation and the repression of his native Iran, and expresses the pain and suffering of his people.

In terms of technique his work is both traditional and highly original. For example, many of Alivandi's paintings use the now-traditional medium of oil on canvas, yet his aesthetic style, which recalls the stained glass of medieval churches, is highly personal. Furthermore, he increasingly works with the angelique pointillage technique, a unique method of painting with extremely small dots, which uses a special tool invented by Alivandi. This innovative pointillist technique has resulted in the many striking works that demonstrate the beauty of his composition and the power of his vision. According to one critic, his masterful blending of hues has earned him the title "the magician of colours".

Alivandi's paintings are typically on a large scale, yet even so they demonstrate the remarkable skill of his hand in their intricate detail.


Alivandi's works have been exhibited throughout Europe and Asia, and have received high critical acclaim. Important recent exhibitions include:

Selected solo:

  • 'Art in Exile', a one-man show in Vienna in June 2007, consisting of 73 works of watercolour, oil on canvas, and works on paper.

Selected group:

  • In 2008 in Vienna, a highly significant exhibition organised by UNESCO included Ferdowsi - an important work by Alivandi which depicts the Shahnameh, an enormous poetic opus written by the Iranian poet Ferdowsi around 1000 CE that is the national epic of the Persian-speaking world.
  • In December 2007 in Paris, Alivandi was exhibited alongside two French artists at Galerie Art Présent, one of Paris's foremost galleries of contemporary art. Following the exhibition, in January 2008, a French article entitled 'Un grand peintre en exile' ('A great painter in exile') wrote that Alivandi's "synthesis of European training with sixty years of artistic experience derived from a deep knowledge of Persian art and spirituality, has resulted in the creation of a new genre that is unique to him." This critic also noted that Alivandi's paintings represent a "paradise of dots".


  • Stockholm, 1994: Alivandi won the Outstanding Contribution Award at the 1st International Graphic Art Exhibition, an annual juried show in Stockholm, Sweden.




  • 'Un Grand Peintre en Exil: Bahram Alivandi', Bulletin du Comité d'Amitié Franco-Iranien (Janvier 2008): p. 4.
  • Leibinger-Hasibether, Ursula, 'Im Paradies der Punkte', Nordbayerischer Kurier (Montag, 16. März 1998)
  • 'Iranischer Maler stellt in Neuhaus aus', Nordbayerischer Kurier (Dienstag, 1. Oktober 1996)
  • 'Knotenmänner und sensible Frauen', Hersbrucker Zeitung Nummer 249 (Samstag/Sonntag, 26./27. Oktober 1991)
  • 'Philosophie und Mystik Persiens [Persian Philosophy and Mysticism]' (Samstag/Sonntag, 5./6. Oktober 1991)

Exhibition Catalogues:

  • Kunst im Exil [Art in Exile], exh. cat. Mödling: Galerie Sala Terrena, 2007.
  • Bahram Alivandi: Und Sein Paradies Der Punkte [Bahram Alivandi: And His Paradise of Dots], exh. cat. Vienna: 1999.
  • Bahram Alivandi, exh. cat. Weidenberg: Galerie Bahnhof, 1998.


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