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Report of Memorial and Burial Services of Ardeshir Mohassess

By Rahim Asgard


Ardeshir Mohassess (an old photo)


The morning of Saturday October 25 was the day for the funeral service of Ardeshir Mohassess in New York city. I live in Illinois and I was going to go to the funeral. I frequently  checked the weather channels about the weather conditions in NYC on that day. The meteorologists were predicting rain showers in NYC on the morning of October 25. Bahram Rahmani, a common friend of Ardeshir and I for more than 20 years, who like Ardeshir has lived in NYC for more than 30 years, put my mind at ease on Friday night when I arrived at his home that It was not going to rain on Saturday morning, and he was right . It didn't rain but the sky was grey and gloomy while the greatest Iranian artist was saying goodbye to this planet.


Ardeshir Mohassess, a self-portrait


The memorial service was held in a chapel in Manhattan close to the apartment where Ardeshir had lived for more than 30 years.  About 200-250 Iranians and a few Americans attended the ceremony. A friend read a letter from the  Mohassess family in Iran thanking everybody for attending Ardeshir's funeral. One of the colleagues of  Dr. Yarshater read his message of condolences because he himself could not attend the ceremony due to illness. Dr. Stanley Fahn , from Columbia University and one of the world's highest ranking authorities in Parkinson's disease who treated Ardeshir's parkinsonism for 22 years spoke about his care of his patient Mr. Mohassess. Several other friends of Ardeshir as well as his attendants of several years Mrs. Roseman and Ms. Mary Lordies spoke. So did two American representatives of Asia society one of whom spoke in fluent Farsi.


Dr. Stanley Fahn, Ardeshir's Parkinson doctor speaking at the funeral ceremony



Then the group, along with Ardeshir's casket moved to Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn. Green-Wood cemetery is a very highly respected and famous burial-ground in New York City where 3000 veterans of Civil War and many great artists have been buried. At grave site several people spoke. People with mournful eyes had surrounded the coffin and the grave and were watching their greatest artist go away forever. Bahram recalled an incident which brought a smile to the attendants' face: One day some of the most valuable works of Ardeshir was stolen from the car of a friend. When they tell Ardeshir about this loss, instead of becoming upset with this loss, he laughs and says: "At least the thief was an art lover"


During the whole morning there was the glow of love for Ardeshir and for one another in the eyes of everybody, and people treated each other with kindness and respect reminiscent of Iran several days before the revolution.


Picture in the background shows Ardeshir on his last days while working.

Mrs. Mary Lordeis who took care of Ardeshir five nights a week in front.

In my opinion Ardeshir was and is the greatest artist that our country has produced in modern times, He mastered a modern art and in it he became equal with or superior to the masters of the world . Here are some examples to prove my claim: When his French book "comment peut on etre un Iranien?" (How can one be an Iranian?) was published in Paris in 1987, Robert Searle, a Suisse, whose picture was published on the cover of the Christmas issue of  New Yorker Magazine as the greatest living caricaturist-cartoonist of the world, sees Ardeshir's work in a bookstore in Paris and buys it. He wrote a letter to Ardeshir that I translated for him. In it Mr. Searle had written that he wished he could draw like Ardeshir. In 1988, the art magazine of Japan, Idea, named Ardeshir as the greatest living cartoonist-caricaturist of Asia. The art magazine of Seoul, South Korea, Graphis decided to introduce 2 artists from each country for Christmas issue of 1989 . Ardeshir was chosen as one of the two artists from America. A series of his works which later on was published as a book under the title of "Life in Iran" by Mage publishers was bought by the Library of the Congress of The United Stated of America. His other book "close circuit history" again published by Mage publishers was forwarded by Mr. Ramsey Clark former attorney general of the United States. We are all aware of his recent glorious exhibition in Asia Society.


Ardeshir's casket with Mrs. Roseman, his attendant during the day for 11 years,


Most of Ardeshir's works including his two colossal works: Holocaust, a series of 400-500 works depicting the atrocities of the Nazis and another major work of 400-500 sketches by the name of Circus, are not yet shown to the public. He has another series of sketches of Dr. Mossadegh, again not exhibited. Gradually these works , along with many other of his masterpieces will come out and we Iranians will feel proud that we produced a world scale artist.


As a friend and admirer of Ardeshir for many years I would like to thank the following for helping Ardeshir through the years: Nikzad Nojoumi, Bahram Rahmani, Behrooz Moazami, Firooz Nojoumi, Shirin Neshat and many others.


Bedrood Ardeshir: doctor Rahim




Related Articles:


Ardeshir Mohassess: Art and Satire in Iran: Art and Satire in Iran
by Shirin Neshat (Author)

  • Hardcover: 120 pages

  • Publisher: Antique Collectors' Club, Ltd., Ltd. (May 25, 2008)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 1851495649

buy from amazon

Life in Iran: The Library of Congress Drawings

  • Paperback: 48 pages

  • Publisher: Mage Publishers; 1st ed edition (December 1993)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 0934211396

buy from amazon

Closed Circuit History

  • Hardcover: 496 pages

  • Publisher: Mage Publishers; 1st ed edition (June 1989)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN: 0934211183

buy from amazon



... Payvand News - 11/07/08 ... --

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