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?? Who is Sara Moon ??

Why do the Sara Moon signatures - even the way letters are formed, vary so much?

Why do the Sara Moon artworks vary so much in quality and style?

Why the mystery, the rumour, conjecture and fantasy endings?

Moshgan - 1976
Bijan's Red Baron Signature

Fariba 1981
Christian's Red Baron Signature

Beauty in the Rain 1982
Bijan's Verkerke Signature

Bijan was born in Tehran in 1939. From early childhood it was clear that he had inherited the artistic blood of his ancestors, who even included official court poets to the Shahs of Persia.

But, even though Bijan’s talent for art was recognised early, his father had other plans for his son’s future. He wanted Bijan to follow in his own footsteps and his grandfather before him, to become a doctor. Bijan reluctantly bowed to these wishes and travelled to Germany to study medicine, but it wasn’t long before his passion for art became the stronger.

In 1964 he signed himself into the College of Fine Arts in Saarbrücken, to study Textile Design, and, after successfully obtaining a degree and whilst still studying, gained diverse practical experience with various German companies. He then returned to Iran with his degree in his pocket and a beautiful German wife by his side.

In his homeland he found work as a designer in the Iranian textile industry and soon received a call from the Iranian Ministry of Economics where he worked as an expert in Textile Art and Craftsmanship, developing many textiles and fabric designs for Persian royalty and rulers. He also ran a private studio and gallery (atelier) where he taught students to draw.

But Germany had captured his heart and the call was strong. So it was that in 1974 he returned to live there once more and adopted the country as his home. He tried hard to find employment as an industrial textile designer, but was unable to find a place that could utilise the depth of his experience and talents and provide a satisfying job. So he gave up the search and instead helped his wife to establish a hairdressing salon. This satisfied only his organisational and management skills, but not the artist in him. And so, after the successful completion of this self-imposed task, he decided to break away and returned to his art and crafts.

After the extensive study of models, fashions and trends, and after producing many sketches and drawings, he was approached by what was to become Red Baron Publishing of LA, to created what is today known worldwide as the style of ‘Sara Moon’. A professional pseudonym was decided upon given that many a viewer may struggle to understand the ‘Djamalzadeh’ signature, and the name 'Sara Moon' just seemed to suit his work so well.

The artworks of contemporary young women and animal portraits that followed with their precision in detail and the delicacy of brush strokes and colour, fascinated viewers all over the world.

Four years, and sixteen paintings later, Bijan parted company with Red Baron and nothing by his hand was released again until the Swedish publisher, Verkerke began to distribute new painting in 1981.

Unfortunately, during those two years, Red Baron Publishing tried to claim the name ‘Sara Moon’ as their own and continued to satisfy world-wide demand for new Sara Moon artworks by commissioning the artist Christian to paint and sign images as 'Sara Moon'. You can see Christian's work here. This led to works by both artists being released as 'Sara Moon' art during the years 1980-82, after which Bijan won the sole right to the name.

Bijan still owns most of his original artworks, but it is feared that many of the early pieces were lost when Red Baron Publishing was consumed by fire in the early 1980s, at which time the company ceased trading. But in 2010, two of those 16 missing painting surfaced, and though sadly showing signs of much neglect, ‘Jennifer’ and ‘Catherine’ are now in safe hands once more, leaving fourteen that could still be out there somewhere. You can see the missing painting along with Jennifer and Catherine in the first section of sixteen painting the gallery depicting Sara Moon Art by Date, here.

(NOTE: If you think you have seen one - or own one of these missing paintings - PLEASE get in touch, we would just love to know that they are still around!)

With the battle for the right to the name over, Bijan continued to paint as Sara Moon for Verkerke until the early 1990's when he retired from public life. For over 15 years he was totally oblivious to the 'Where are you, Sara?' calls that echoed around the world from the multitude of devoted fans he had unwittingly left behind.

With Red Baron Publishing gone, and Bijan’s quiet 'disappearance' into retirement, and given the varied signatures on the artworks, there was much speculation over the years that followed. Did 'Sara Moon' ever exist at all? If so, where was this reclusive artist now? Was ‘Sara Moon’ a collection of different artists signing under the same name? Rumours that the artists was actually a Rumanian male hiding away in a small German town, turned out to be quite accurate - though Bijan wasn't actually hiding - he just didn't have a publishing contract any longer and didn’t want one, nor did he have, or want, a computer. As such his world became a quiet place to relax and teach - and paint - for his own pleasure.

Then, during 2005, Bijan heard through a relative, about the Sara Moon web site that I had built to showcase his art and about the activities of the many-hundred-strong Sara Moon Yahoo Group. With that he took a tiny step forward, back into the world of his fans again, by asking the relative to email me to say, ‘Hello and Thank You’ for helping keep his art alive.

I had waited nearly five years for that contact and when it came, I was very pleased to be sitting down! Imagine then my joy when in February 2006, I was invited to Bijan's home and studio to meet with him and to view many of his creations old and new. For the story of a day I shall never forget and the beginning of a remarkable friendship, not to mention the beginning of a whole new era in the Sara Moon story—with many personal and studio photos as you go, please click here.

Since then, Bijan has been persuaded to take further steps toward a future that has included the chance for us to see new and previously unpublished works and even the opportunity to purchase his long-held archive prints – now all personally signed. He has offered many originals for sale too, all kept in beautiful condition, away from all light for over two decades. You can find what’s on offer in signed archive prints here. and the original artworks for sale here. A book of works is also available in two different sizes, here.

Bijan and I work together in ways that helps preserve his privacy in retirement and yet allows us all on-going peaks into the life and work of this quite remarkable artist.

Text © John D Moulton - Do not copy in whole or in part without written consent.

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