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Saeed Motamed was born in Iran in 1925, towards the end of the Qajar dynasty. He trained as an engineer at Tehran University, before moving to Stuttgart, Germany aged 27 to further his studies. He began collecting art as early as 1953, and had a particular enthusiasm for Islamic glass and Persian lacquerwork. After the Iranian revolution of 1979, Saeed Motamed never again visited his native country, although Persian remained his language of choice for his written papers and Islamic art remained his first love.
By this time, Mr Motamed’s connoisseur’s eye was making him famous throughout Europe and Asia. He has had and continues to have personal influence over the preservation of Islamic glass pieces: many items which he once owned are now prized museum exhibits, and can be found in establishments such as the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In an introduction to the catalogue of an exhibition of pieces from the collection at Bernheimer Fine Arts LTD in 1986, Basil W. Robinson paid tribute to Mr Motamed’s extraordinary vision, writing: “the present exhibition comprises a selection from the property of a private collector whose long and extensive experience and expertise in all branches of Islamic art are well known to everybody in this field. Its quality is thus guaranteed, and is indeed self-evident”.
As a member of the Baha’i community, Mr Motamed encouraged curiosity and appreciation of other cultures, and his collection reflects this perfectly. It transcends decades, continents and themes, and is exciting specialists, amateurs and novices alike.
Saeed Motamed passed away in March of this year. Bellmans are proud to be able to contribute to the legacy of such a remarkable collection and its extraordinary owner.