Originally hailing from Pakistan, New York-based artist Salman Toor has become a household name globally. After attaining a Bachelors in Fine Art (Painting and Drawing) from the Ohio Wesleyan University and a Masters in Fine Art (Painting) from The Pratt Institute, the artist has had multiple exhibitions worldwide. In a latest development, Toor’s painting “Rooftop Party with Ghosts I” was sold at Christie’s art sale for $822,000, the highest price ever fetched by a Pakistani artist at an auction. His last exhibit in Pakistan took place at the Canvas Gallery, where he displayed his collection titled Short Stories.
New York based Pakistani artist Salman Toor’s painting “Rooftop Party with Ghosts I” was sold at Christie’s art sale for $822,000/-. This is perhaps the highest price ever fetched by a Pakistani artist at auction. #fantasticart ? pic.twitter.com/EPQifZztpn
— karachi ahab (@karachiahab) December 9, 2020
While speaking to Art Now Pakistan earlier, Toor weighed in on the inspiration behind his signature painting style. I look at lots of 17th and 18th century European painters. “The floridness and vividness of their styles appeals to me. The overcrowded Baroque compositions of Rubens, the dignity of the subjects in Van Dyck, the lushness of romance and sensuality in Watteau, the decorative brilliance of Veronese,” he said, adding, “It is a pre-industrial way of looking, a foreign language of picture making. I internalized that way of looking and working, sometimes through mimesis and other times through experiment and invention.”
Toor grew up in Lahore and shifted to the United States for higher studies. “My high school encouraged going to the U.S. for college and as soon as I got a scholarship, I thought it was ordained that I should go.
I didn’t know much about Western Art History before then. I used to look at How to Draw figures and sometimes have friends’ model for me before I went to college abroad,” he mentioned. “I realised when my international education began, that I didn’t know very much and the world is filled with talented, brilliant people and that gave me a sense of fatalism, which in turn made me value honesty and simplicity,” Toor stated.