Parviz Tanavoli was born in Tehran in 1937. Upon graduating from the Brera Academy of Milan in 1959, he taught sculpting at the Tehran College of Decorative Arts, and from 1961 - 1963 he thought at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He then returned to Iran and assumed the head of sculpting department at the University of Tehran, a position he held for 18 years until 1979, when he retired from his teaching duties.
Since 1989 he has lived and worked both in Tehran and Vancouver, Canada. His latest solo exhibition was in 2019 at the West Vancouver Art Museum entitled "Oh Nightingale". Prior to that, he had another solo exhibition in 2017 at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art based on his Lions works and Lion collection.
In 2003 he had a major retrospective at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and one in 2009 at the Meem gallery, in Dubai, and in 2011 at Austin Desmond Gallery, London. Prior to that he had held acclaimed solo exhibitions in Austria, Italy, Germany, the United States, Britain and numerous other countries. Similarly, his group exhibitions have been held on three continents.
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His work has been displayed at the British Museum - London, the Grey Art Gallery - New York University, the Isfahan City Center - Iran, Metropolitan Museum - New York, Minneapolis Institute of Art - Minneapolis, Olympic Park - Seoul, S. Korea, Qatar National Museum, Royal Museum - Jordan, Royal Scottish Museum - UK, the Museum of Modern Art - Vienna, Museum of Modern Art - New York, Walker Art Center - Minneapolis, Shiraz University - Iran, Tate Modern - London and in numerous other prestigious venues around the world.
Tanavoli has authored over forty publications, dating back over four decades.
Among these are:
Khorjins - Tehran (2017), Salt Bags - Tehran (2016), An Introduction to the History of Graphic Design in Iran - Tehran (2014, in Farsi), Undiscover Minimalism - London (2011), Afshar: Tribal Rugs form Eastern Iran - Tehran (2010), Tombstones - Tehran (2009), Gabbeh: Art Underfoot - Tehran (2004), Tribal and Rustic Weaves from Varamin - Tehran (2003), Persian Flat-Weaves - London (2002), Horse and Camel Trappings from Tribal Iran - Tehran (1998) , Sofreh of Kamo - Tehran (1996), Kings, Heroes and Lovers - London (1994), Shahsavan: Iranian Rugs and Textiles - New York (1985), Locks from Iran - Washington(1977).