LOT NO.
35

Sayed Haider Raza

Srijan
acrylic on canvas
57.5 x 45 in. (146 x 114.3 cm.)
painted in 2007
Winning Bid: $ 220,000
Estimate: US$ 200,000 - 300,000
Lot Closed

Lot Details

Signed and dated 'Raza 07' (lower right)
Inscribed in Hindi (lower centre)
Further signed, titled twice in Hindi and English, dated and inscribed 'RAZA / 2007 / "SRIJAN" / 146 x 114 cm. / Acrylic on Canvas" (on the reverse)

PROVENANCE
Acquired directly from the artist
Private collection, Dubai

The focus of SH Raza's art over the last decades has been to explore and represent the elements of nature, he used the language of symbols and saturated his canvases in geometric shapes and colors to produce powerful works that are contemplative and spiritual. Merging his background and training, he produced work both with deep Indian vision and French plastic mastery, enfolded in modernism yet with the deep resonance of the past. Raza repeatedly revisited his defining themes creating an extraordinary series of meditative and symbolic paintings.

In this piece, Srijan, which loosely translates to creation, Raza's geometric vocabulary was apparent. Deeply immersed in ancient Indian cosmological symbolism, he celebrated the process of creation in an expansive interplay of visually disparate images sharing a collective narrative. The painting is divided into sections enclosing principle forms, each with strips of colours and variation of aligned triangles, with a black bindu in the upper center of the canvas. Just below that is a pair of bindu in red and blue representing male and female energies - close but not merging into each other. The colours, like most of his works, are remarkably vibrant with a concentration of red, orange, and earthy browns.

Supporting a central idea, Raza wields his unique visual language to reinforce the gestural idioms and philosophical aesthetics of his work. The painting seems to chronicle a story with the different patterned squares coming together to form the whole construct, with each fragment with its own metaphysical significance. The serpent-like painted circles of kundalini forming an unbroken continuity is the rejuvenation and the cyclical nature of life; the Bindu which is the primordial life-force in turn connects to germination which is conveyed with the use of triangular yonis; while the symbols of fire, water, earth, wind and sky embody elements that sustain life. The interconnectedness of the key components of the universe, simplified in Raza's canvas.

Sayed Haider Raza

(1922 - 2016)
Born in 1922 in Babaria, Madhya Pradesh, Raza graduated from the Nagpur School of Art in 1943 and the Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai in 1947. He was one of the founding members of the Progressive Artists’ Group in 1948. After receiving a French Government Scholarship in 1950 he left for Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts, Paris, where he was awarded the Prix de la Critique in 1956. In 1962 he served as a visiting lecturer at the University of California in Berkeley, USA. Raza has several solo exhibitions to his credit, including ‘Paysage: Select Works 1950s-1970s’, ‘Parikrama: Around Gandhi’, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, in 2014; ‘Shabd-Bindu’, Akar Prakar, Kolkata, in 2013; ‘Vistaar’, Art Musings and Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, in 2012-13, ‘Bindu Vistaar’, Grosvenor Gallery, London, in 2012; ‘Punarangman’, Vadehra Art Gallery and Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, in 2011; ‘Ones’ at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, in 2011 and 2010; Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2008 and 2006; and Saffronart and Berkeley Square Gallery, London and New York, 2005. In 2007 Saffronart held a major retrospective of his work in New York. Raza’s work has been exhibited in several group exhibitions including those at Aicon Gallery, New York and London, in 2014, 13, 12, 11, 10; the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, in 2009; Grosvenor Gallery, London, Mumbai, 2004; Saffronart and Pundole Art Gallery, New York, 2001 and 2002; and Saffronart, Hong Kong and Los Angeles, 2001 among several others. Raza received a Lalit Kala Ratna from the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi in 2004, and a Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri from the Government of India in 2007 and 1981 respectively. The Madhya Pradesh State Government also awarded him with the Kalidas Samman in 1996-97. Raza lived and worked in Paris and Gorbio, France, till 2011. The artist passed away in New Delhi in July 2016.