Houshang Seyhoun was born on
a hot summer's day in Tehran (August 22, 1920). His family
vitally involved in music and art. he lived in this
atmosphere of music and art, and from an early age was
encouraged to pursue his passion for drawing.
This extended to his decorating the finely crafted
pillars of their home, black charcoal lines on stark white
columns and walls and of course his parents encouraged
He completed his early education through secondary school
in Tehran, and he graduated from high school and was
admitted to the newly established College of fine arts at
Tehran University, at the outbreak of the Second
World War. The child's passion for drawing now extended to
design and architecture, and under the careful direction
of his mentor and advisor in college, French scholar
professor Maxime Siroux, Seyhoun blossomed in the next
four years, and outstanding young talent.
Shortly after Seyhoun's graduation, Iran Soviet
Cultural Society in Tehran, which organized many cultural
events, arranged for an exhibition of works by Iranian
artists. Houshang's graduation project was exhibited, and judges awarded him the insignia for arts from
Iranian Ministry Of Culture and Arts-an insignia,
interestingly enough, which he had himself designed
something earlier during a contest at the college.
In the year following the war, Seyhoun won several
additional contests and prizes for his architectural
designs. One of these was his design for a monument at Tehran's
Central Railway Station. Soon after this
achievement, he designed for the commemorative
monument and mausoleum for Iranian philosopher and
physician, Avecinna, in Hamadan.
In 1946 he left for France to advance his studies in
Beaux-Arts. These were very important years for him. He
studied under Professor Otello Zavaront for three years
and traveled widely throughout Europe. By 1949, when he
completed the course of study and received the "Docteur
During the next 20 years he designed mausoleums for Omar
Khayam and Nader Shah, among other Iranian notables, as
well as completing the main complex of Iranian National
Congress, and a large educational
complex in South of Tehran. Also during this period he
lectured wide in Iran, Europe and North America and
conducted numerous seminars and workshops.
In 1962 Seyhoun was appointed Dean of the School of Fine
Arts and Architecture at Tehran University and immediately
undertook major re-struction of the College. During his
tenure as Dean he also become involved in civic and
governmental activities, both at home and abroad and for the
first time in 1968 he exhibited his abstract designs.
At this time he became member of ICOMOS, Division of
UNESCO, and served as president of Iranian
Architectural Organization. During this period, he was
instrumental in bringing two World Architectural Congress
to Iran, one in historical Isfahan and one in Persepolis
(Shiraz). In 1969, he was elected a
member of the City Council for Tehran for the period of
In 1968, he exhibited in Tehran featured new style of
abstract drawing with pen and ink. In 1972, his work
was part of the large group exhibition in Amherst,
Massachusetts, USA, which included the works of Salvador
Dali and Pablo Picasso. Two years later, he exhibited in
Paris with the publication of a book of drawing of urban
and rural areas.
In 1977, Seyhoun held exclusive exhibition at Contemporary Art Gallery in Tehran, a retrospective of his
work since the early days in Paris, and other exhibitions
displaying water colors, pen and ink drawings, and felts.
Seyhoun is noted specially for his innovative and
creative architectural design. His architectural firm
became the center for the original designs using stone,
brick, steel and concrete in new combinations.
In three exhibitions of Seyhoun's works, in 1977 in Tehran,
were to be his last in his native country. One of these
exhibitions featured his water colors, another his pen and
ink drawings, and the final one his felt works.
On February 2, 1980, Seyhoun left Tehran for Paris at the
invitation of French government. He remained in France
until 1982, where he continued to paint and draw while
holding several exhibitions.
In 1981, "Hors du temps" Museum, in the South
of France, was officially opened, and one of Seyhoun's
works was hung as part of the permanent exhibition. He was
also given honorary citizenship. A year later, in 1982, he
immigrated to Canada, where he now resides permanently.
In 1989, he was honored by the City of Los Angeles for an
exhibition of his work at the
University of Southern California.