Y. Z. Kami - New Now New York Thursday, September 17, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Leila-Taghinia-Milani, Inc., New York
    Private Collection
    Christie's, New York, First Open, September 21, 2011, lot 322
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Deeply contemplative while disquietingly poignant, the present lot embodies the spiritual immediacy and private truths unearthed in Y.Z. Kami’s revered portraiture. Born in 1956 to a Shia family in Iran, the artist’s thematic underpinnings of spirituality and religion are made accessible in the repurposed personal photographs from his childhood in Tehran. In Self-Portrait as a Child, Kami’s younger self shares a piercing gaze with us, as he is flanked by a window into a highly impersonal genre scene which tempers any familial warmth. The profound dichotomy of these two elements, depicted across four panels, indicate Kami’s acute understanding of the shortcomings inherent to portraiture—yet its towering scale unequivocally implores us to reflect upon the unseen dimensions of our lives. Importantly, the sister painting, only marginally larger than the present lot, resides in the permanent collection of the Guggenheim.


Self-Portrait as a Child

oil, graphite on panel, in 4 parts
each 80 x 30 in. (203.2 x 76.2 cm)
overall 80 x 120 in. (203.2 x 304.8 cm)

Signed and dated "KAMI 1989" on the reverse of the second panel.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $161,000

Contact Specialist
Rebekah Bowling
Head of Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1250

New Now

New York Auction 17 September 2015