Rafael Sinclair Mahdavi

Extract of Film By Claude Yvans

Biographical notes


Rafael Sinclair Mahdavi was born in Mazatlan, Mexico, of an American mother from Wichita, Kansas and a Persian father from the city of Mashad. After two years in Mazatlan, his parents worked and lived in Paris, Vienna and New York. In l95l they said "good bye to all that" and settled in Majorca, Spain. They earned their living by writing novels and short stories. He was educated at home by his parents until the age of ten when he was first sent to boarding schools in England, then Madrid, and finally Vienna where he received his baccalaureate degree. He has quadruple nationality, French, American, Mexican and Iranian.


From Vienna He went to the United States for his university education, spending two years at the University of Rochester, and then two more years at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, as a full scholarship student. He was awarded his Bachelor of Fine arts degree from Cranbrook in 1968.


In order to continue doing his own painting and make a living, he worked as a scenery painter and assistant set designer in theatre, opera and cinema. Different jobs took him to New York, Paris and Rome. He soon realised that holding jobs related to his own work took too much out of him, so he opted for odd, undemanding jobs such as book selling at Rizzoli's Bookstore, tourist guide on buses in New York, arc welder and bar tender in Paris. These jobs, which were more often than not at night, enabled him to focus on his work during the day. He soon began exhibiting his work (Please consult list of shows).


His son was born in 1978, and his daughter in 1982. He continued painting and sculpting. He told himself that now that he had begun to exhibit his work and had also acquired experience in various fields outside the world of art, he was ready to start teaching painting and sculpture part-time.

Rafael Sinclair Mahdavi now divides his time between southern Burgundy and Greece.

Teaching experience:


Professor of painting at the American Centre in Paris.


Professor of painting and sculpture at Parsons School of Design in Paris.


Professor of drawing at the Ecole Supérieure d'Art et Design in Amiens.


Professor of drawing at Strate College of Design, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France