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40 Under 40 Middle East

Sassan and Maria Behnam-Bakhtiar

4 September 2019


Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, a Franco-Iranian multidisciplinary artist, and his wife Maria began collecting art in their 20s when they were living in Dubai. Their collection began with works by Parviz Tanavoli and Babak Kazemi, and has focused on Iranian art ever since, although they have found room for the likes of Andy Warhol, Peter Doig and Keith Haring. In 2015, Sassan launched the Fondation Behnam-Bakhtiar to promote contemporary Iranian artists globally, a goal that played its part in the decision to establish the organisation’s headquarters in France, where the couple now live. The biennial Behnam-Baktiar Award offers artists a cash prize, publishing opportunities and an exhibition at the couple’s new eponymous gallery, due to open in Monte Carlo in autumn 2019.

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