Born in 1924 in Qazvin, Iran, Monir has been noted as one of the most prominent Iranian artists of the contemporary period and the first artist to achieve an artistic practice that weds the geometric patterns and cut-glass mosaic techniques of her Iranian heritage with the rhythms of modern Western geometric abstraction. Farmanfarmaian acquired artistic skills early in childhood, receiving drawing lessons from a tutor and studying postcard depictions of western art. After studying at the University of Tehran at the Faculty of Fine Art in 1944, she then moved to New York via steamer boat, when World War II derailed plans to study art in Paris, France. In New York, she studied at Cornell University, at Parsons The New School for Design, where she majored in fashion illustration, and at the Art Students League. Farmanfarmaian's work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, and galleries and museums in New York, Paris, London, Dubai, Vienna and Tokyo. She participated in the 29th Bienal de São Paulo (2010); the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2009); and the Venice Biennale (1958, 1966 and 2009). In 1958 she received the Venice Biennale, Iranian Pavilion (gold medal) (solo). Suzanne Cotter curated Farmanfarmaian's work for her first large museum retrospective titled 'Infinite Possibility: Mirror Works and Drawings' which was on display at the Serralves Museum (also known as Fundação de Serralves) in Porto, Portugal (2014-2015) and then the exhibition travelled to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City (2015). This was her first large US museum exhibition.