Sahand 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 in 1963, 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 surrounding landscapes. Sahand returned to the U.S. in 1970, settling in Boulder, Colorado, where he became a naturalized American citizen.
Tabatabai’s first major show was the 1964 Tehran Biannual at the Museum of Fine Arts. In the U.S. his work became known in the 1980’s. He has had numerous oneperson shows in the U.S., and participated in countless group shows in Colorado, New York City, New Jersey, Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kansas, and in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Tabatabai has been represented by galleries in Denver and Aspen, and his paintings are in the permanent collection of the Denver Art Museum, and appeared on the cover of the DAM magazine, “Off the Wall.”
In the late 1980’s a well known art critic from New York City discovered Tabatabai’s work during a tour of the Denver Art Museum. The critic’s acclaim of Tabatabai catapulted his career to a new level. Collectors in Colorado clamored for his paintings, and a gallery in New York City represented him there. As a result, Sahand lived and painted in New York City between 1990 and 2011, while spending summers with family and friends back home in Boulder.
Tabatabai’s competencies are in painting, drawing, and sculpture. His fundamental training and understanding of real figurative art and landscapes creates 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.