Schah Reza und Farah Diba



80 x 69 cm (31 1/2 x 27 3/16 in.)

This double portrait in primary colours depicts the last Shah of Iran and his wife in ceremonial dress. The subject’s official, even solemn demeanour is distorted by simplified lines and motifs and brightly coloured flat areas evoking the aesthetics of comic strips and posters.

In the 1960s, Viennese Actionist Otto Muehl made a series of falsely naïve, provocative portraits of royals and heads of state who were in the media at the time, expressing his nihilistic rejection of the system. His informal, stylised paintings using silkscreen recall the political posters of 1968. They irreverently call for a toppling of existing values, but less virulently than his performances.

Schah Reza und Farah Diba, which is in the Pinault Collection along with other works by the same artist, was shown during the 2009 major group exhibition "Mapping the Studio" at the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi in Venice.