Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives

Ardeshir Mohasses Drawings

Collection ID:
Muḥaṣṣiṣ, Ardashīr, 1938-2008
1981-1985, undated
Physical Description:
1.8 Cubic feet
Two tall legal size flip top boxes, one 30 in. x 21 in. oversize folder

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Drawings and lithographs by Ardeshir Mohasses. All dated materials are from the early 1980s, after he decided to permanently reside and work in New York City. Subjects include commentary on and satire of the Iranian political situation, but also animal figures and street scenes.

Organized into two series: Series 1: Drawings Series 2: Lithographs

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Ardeshir Mohasses (also romanized Ardešir Moḥaṣṣeṣṣ, Ardashir Mohases, Persian: ردشير محصص) was born September 9, 1938 in Rasht, Iran. One of four children, and cousin to the noted artist Bahman Mohasses, he was raised in Lahijan. Ardeshir Mohasses began his career as an illustrator as a student in the 1950s, contributing work to
, a satirical publication. Although he applied to and was accepted by the University of Tehran's Faculty of Fine Arts, he opted to study political science and never trained formally as an artist. After graduating university in 1962, he briefly worked as a civil servant before deciding to pursue art full time. His work appeared in Iranian publications including
Ketāb-e hafta
, cementing his reputation as a leading illustrator and pioneer of satirical cartoons in Iran by the late 1960s. He published several volumes of work through the 1970s.
By the 1970s, Mohasses gained increasing recognition internationally, leading to publication of his work in major outlets in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He also exhibited works and toured in the United States. Facing hostility from the government of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Mohasses relocated to New York City in 1976 and decided to remain following the 1979 Iranian Revolution. He continued working, satirizing and criticizing the new Iranian government as he had the old.
Mohasses' health declined following a Parkinson's disease diagnosis in 1986 and other challenges. He continued publishing, including
Ardeshir Mohassess: Closed Circuit History
(1989) and
Life in Iran: The Library of Congress Drawings
(1994). He remained active until his death in New York on October 9, 2008. His life and legacy were celebrated at the conference "Ardeshir Mohassess, Art, Politics, and Beyond" at New York University, October 9-10, 2010, as well as
Ardeshir: The Rebellious Artist
by Bahman Maghsoudlou, a revised version of a documentary originally released in 1972 as
Ardeshir Mohasses and His Caricatures

Ryan Murray
Custodial History
All drawings and lithographs were either received as gifts or purchase from the artist by the donors.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Farzad and Neda Rastegar, 2019.
Processing Information
Processed by Ryan Murray, 2021.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use.
Preferred Citation
Ardeshir Mohasses Drawings, FSA A2019.01. National Museum of Asian Art Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Farzad and Neda Rastegar.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Iran Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
National Museum of Asian Art Archives
Washington, D.C. 20013