Manouchehr Yektayi (born in 1922 in Tehran – died on 19 November 2019) was an American-Persian painter and poet. He was one of the most prominent painters of the abstract-expressionism style associated with the New York school of thought movement and one of the pioneers of contemporary Iranian painting.
The main feature of his works can be pointed as unpretentious. Yektayi lived in Iran until the age of 22. He left his studies at the Faculty of Fine Arts and completed his education at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Paris and America. His first solo exhibition was held in New York in 1951 and received high attention amongst New York artist. A few years later, his works were exhibited in cities such as Washington, Chicago and Baltimore, and the Museum of Modern Art of New York bought a painting and two sketches of him.
Yektayi has a rebellious character by nature and avoids every rule and belonging to schools of thought and groups, both in painting and poetry. In a report-like article about him in New York Times published on January 9, 1983, he says, “I am trying to be a contemporary painter. It means to be a new painter, a painter of this time, a type of painting that you have never seen or experienced before. This includes many things. I don’t like to be considered a part of any group.”
In 1950, he joined New York School artists’ club, and since then his name got associated with the “Abstract Expressionist”, but he still insisted that he did not belong to any school of painting. When critics call his figurative paintings abstract, he himself says, “I call them figures. If they say it’s a figure, then I’ll say it’s abstract.”
He established his position as an Iranian artist in the New York school of painters at the same pedestal as artists such as Jackson Palk and Willem de Kooning.
About his works is written as below:
“Manochehar Yektayi is a painter of happiness and delicacies of our world, and while he is working in a new way, he has not forgotten romance and happiness of life, it is as if he does not have any pain at all, and because of this the effect that many human beings suffers, he does not know about it, and goes through the world beyond the ordinary. “
Yektai and his ex-wife Munir Shahroudi Farmanfarmayian have a daughter named Nima. He also has three children from his second American wife, Nikki. Yektai died in the morning of November 20th in the United States.