Parviz Tanavoli is an Iranian sculptor, painter, researcher and collector. He is known as one of the pioneers of Saqqakhane School. He is one of the most famous Iranian artists. The collection of sculptures such as  “Nothing”, “Hands” and “Lock and Cage” are among Parviz Tanavoli’s most famous artworks.

“Hich” sculpture collection is very popular in international art auctions, therefore, some art collectors and the most famous museums in the world have collected Parviz Tanavoli’s artworks for their collections. One of his statues called Persepolis was sold at Christie’s auction in 2007 with an unprecedented record of two million and 500 thousand dollars. Parviz Tanavoli is also an expert in Iranian nomadic carpets and weavings.

He was born on April 3rd 1937 in Tehran, in Shemiran Gate neighborhood, in a middle-class family. He started his artistic activity by playing the violin under the supervision of instructors such as Nik Nawaz and Abolhasan Saba at the age of ten to eleven. He continued his education in Adib High School. When the high school was closed, he went to Kamal Al Molk Conservatory. In 1953, the Academy of Fine Arts was established in Tehran and he took classes in sculpture. After completing a three-year sculpture course there, he went to Italy in 1958 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara. After two years, he ran out of money and he had to return to Iran in 1960.

Parviz Tanavoli’s sculptures differ to a great point from other sculptures. Sculpture basically relies on its external architecture, but Tanavoli pays attention to space and inner shape of them. A mysterious inner space that affects the external shape of the sculpture and the result of mystery is the lock and fastening tabs that he places in the sculptures.

He is also one of the most famous experts in Iranian carpets and nomadic weavings. He traveled for many years to get to know Gabeh, among the nomads and villagers, and finally, by publishing a research article in London in 1983, he introduced it to the world. He also designed and made a collection of jewelry that received attention.


The collection of sculptures such as “Volumes of Nothing”, “Hands”, “Lock and Cage” and “Poet” are some of his most famous works. The statue of “Farhad the mount digger” which is located on southwest side of the city theater in Tehran belongs to the collection of “Poet”. Among his other artworks, we can mention “the standing poet”. 14 sculptures of his have been located on Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan. His other 13 sculptures have been located on Vienna and New York Museums of Modern Art, Seoul Olympic Park, Minneapolis Institute, London, Dakar, etc.