"The paintings of this artist are distinguished by two specialities which make them rare and exceptional. One is struck first by the enchantingly beautiful and brilliant colors with their fabulous and delightful shading" -

Dr. Wolfgang Saure.


Oriental Mysticism 

The paintings of this artist are distinguished by two specialities which make them rare and exceptional. One is struck first by the enchantingly beautiful and brilliant colours with their fabulous and delightful shading. Davood Roostaei’s coloration conceals a great past and brings to mind the paradisical gardens of old Persia with their exquisite flowers, luscious fruits and mythical animals, or the fine coloration of Persian miniatures as illustrations to poems and tales. But those are only associations and memories which come when one looks at Davood Roostaei’s semi-abstract and dynamically emotional iconic works. In their whirlwind-like abundance, they remind one of Pollock’s style and of the anti-naturalistic style of Fauves or the expressive ecstatic style of Chaim Soutine. Davood Roostaei presents visions having a colour orchestration which although unfettered is at the same time ordered because it is under the artist’s control They have a wide perspective with vast space into which he inserts outlines of figures and fragmental forms. Lineaments become suggestions of reality as in “Cycle of Creation“ or “Three wise Sayings“ presented with versistical and classical drawings. 

Then again, Davood Roostaei gives only psychoms and logographic particles of experience or thoughts. The Hamburg critic Prof. Hanns Theodor Flemming aptly called this innovative art method “Cryptorealism“. The word derived from the Greek “cryptos“, hidden, secret, secretive, presupposes a fine sense of perception from the viewer. By uniting figurative and abstract painting styles a secretive form is created – a secret and hidden one – a cryptic pictorial realism. In this art form lies Roostaei’s special brand of painting. His Cryptorealistic style is his personal method of coming to terms with the experiences of his own life and with those of the world around him. Furthermore, in connection with this delightful chomatic and colour, Davood Roostaei’s humanistic, even philosophic conception of art must be emphasised. He conceives it as a way of conveying fraternity and as an expression of his participation in mankind’s lot, as he emphasises when he exhibits his paintings for charitable causes. He is concerned with philanthropy as a simple expression of pantheistic affinity with the whole of creation, with mankind and with all creatures. 


“Steve Jobs”
45 x 70 inches
acrylic on canvas
in a private collection 

“Oprah Winfrey“ 45 x 70 inches acrylic on canvas

in a private collection 

45 x 60 inches
acrylic on canvas
in a private collection 

“Arwin“ 45 x 60 inches acrylic on canvas

in a private collection 

Threats to these values, though, are ever present in the modern world. The drama of Davood Roostaei’s paintings is to be seen as his emotional involvement in them with complete devotion to vital qualities; and that as a decided contradiction to cold rationality. It is his deeply emotional attitude to life that expresses itself in this humanitarian form of painting. This combining of ethics with aestheticism stems from a pattern of thought and feeling rooted in sufism and Arabic mysticism. A basic relationship also exists between the vision-like colours and Davood Roostaei’s traditional Persian humanism which also influences the spirituality and form of his pictures. His work is not orthodox or pedantic, for that would be foreign to his nature. In addition to this, since his childhood Davood Roostaei has been familiar with the works of Hafis and Omar Khayyam in whose poems the love of life, also in the form of lustfulness and Dionysian intoxication and then tranquil spiritual illumination melt into one. And here, too, Davood Roostaei finds inspiration. In this centuries-old tradition Davood Roostaei feels at home with his concurrent active-West-European and contemplative-Oriental style of painting. Roostaei, born in 1959, descends from a noble family, which may account for his unmistakable feeling for traditional values. 

His father, a humanist through and through and a well-known surgeon, was Davood Roostaei’s paragon. When he was about 16 years of age, Davood Roostaei began protesting about the unjust methods of the Shah regime. He was persecuted, arrested, imprisoned and tortured. He managed to escape and after an adventurous journey he arrived in Germany, his new homeland, the longed for country of Goethe, Schiller and Beethoven, as he himself says. He took up residence in Hamburg where he exhibited his paintings and soon became well-known. Of biographic and metaphoric interest, it might be added that, as Davood Roostaei himself relates, not without humour, his place of birth was a small idyllic town in the south of Persia called Sareb, which means “fata Morgana“. “Mirage“ is the name of the town of his early childhood, rich in romantic natural phenomena. Perhaps there is an allegory here to his later paintings, his passion for dynamic light-effects, brilliant colour reflexes and perspective reflections between human beings and objects, as in the exalted and Cryptorealistic icons “Day of Liberation“ and “Glasnost“ which radiate joy, hope and the great breath of liberation. Davood Roostaei involves himself in such paintings personally and politically. 

The meaning of the enchanting home town, Sareb, is ever present in his work. Nomen est omen! Davood Roostaei loves contradictions – and this is obvious in his love of dressing up. At times he appears as a matador in expensive Spanish garments, at times as a Sufi, a mystic, in hairy linen garb; the one an expression of physical strength, the other of spiritual strength whose psychological contrast can be seen as an entity. In these theatrical and playful travesties Davood Roostaei intends, as in his paintings, to make visible the hidden strength within the outward form. In his large-sized painting “Nirvana“ (1994) with its tongues of flaming colour in fiery lava-like red, he gives an allegoric presentation of the Big Bang at the beginning of the world when out of the prevailing chaos order was brought about. 

Dr.Wolfgang Sauré 

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