A new acquisition by Iranian-American artist Ali Banisadr

By Hans November — 04 November 2021

In 2019, Iranian-born American artist Ali Banisadr (Tehran, 1976) made his début at Het Noordbrabants Museum, with a solo exhibition that was a resounding success. We are therefore tremendously proud to have been able, in September 2021, to add Banisadr's painting Red to our permanent collection – with support from the Renschdael Groep. Here's why!

Banisadr's paintings are a wonderful reflection of his Iranian roots and the influence of European masters, such as Jheronimus Bosch, Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, and Francis Bacon. Banisadr depicts, in his own, utterly unique way, the apocalyptic atmosphere and fantastical figures to be found in the works of Bosch and Bruegel. His vivid and vital artworks are a mix of order and chaos, of beauty and horror.

End of days

Banisadr's work transports you to a world awash with abstract expression, in which world history and mythology effortlessly intersect. Red (2020) is no exception. The title emphasizes the striking red light, a reference to the Biblical end of days. This symbolism gained an extra dimension for the artist, because he finished the painting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sound as the canvas

What is unique about Banisadr's artworks is that he sees sounds when he is painting. Synaesthesia is the name for this.

'When I start on a painting, it's always based on an internal noise. As soon as I position my brush, the sound starts, and I can create the piece based on the sounds I hear while painting. That is what gives my work its power. Without it, I cannot make the composition and bring all the sounds together.'

— Ali Banisadr

Celebrated artist

Banisadr grew up in Iran, but fled to the United States with his family to escape the Iran-Iraq war. He currently lives and works in New York, where he also went to art school. His work is exhibited and purchased by museums such as the MoMA in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the British Museum in London.

Banisadr is also a big fan of Jheronimus Bosch and, in 2016, moved heaven and earth to get his hands on a last-minute ticket for the exhibition Jheronimus Bosch – Visions of a genius. So awed was he by the works that he spent a whole day at the museum, studying them. This contact led to a solo exhibition in 2019 and, now, to this purchase. Great story, isn't it?


Het Noordbrabants Museum is extremely proud to have been able, in the current climate, to boost its collection with this powerful and important painting, thanks in part to support from the Renschdael Groep.

Hans November (1978) is Head of Collection, Presentation, and Education at Het Noordbrabants Museum. After an international career in the art and antiques trade, he previously worked as a curator of 20th and 21st-century art. He studied History of Art at KU Leuven and the University of Leiden, and his areas of interest are modern and contemporary art, architecture, design, and folk art.

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