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Lot Details

Signed and dated 'Raza '77' (lower right)
Further signed, titled, dated and inscribed 'Raza / "Rajasthan" / 1977 / acrylic on paper / 65 x 50 cm' (on the reverse)
Initialed twice and further titled in Hindi (on the reverse)

Acquired directly from the artist.

Alain Bonfand, Raza, Paris, 2008, p. 96 (illustrated)

Following years of experiments with European culture and aesthetics, Raza was keen on bringing his Indian identity to his works. The unambiguous and immediate character of Pollock’s and Willian de Kooning’s works inspired him at this time. He began to freely apply non-figurative aspects in his works. His pallet transitioned to a pronounced use of colour — featuring fervid tones of red and yellow, for instance. He had a particular liking for inflamed colours — inspired from Rajasthani and Jain miniatures — and abandoned himself in their use.

'Rajasthan' depicts a seamless movement that plays out through an eloquent melange of paint. Shape, as such, is not inferred. The influence he drew from miniatures are made unique through his own unique interpretation.

'It does not serve to liberate but to bind — to return him to the sources which he had once known, to shapes and colours experienced at an earlier age. For him these forms are not a novelty with which to experiment, but primordial forms which he can replicate. He focuses not on the anecdotal but the essential, or rather the essence of India, imbibed into his work from the mid-60’s.' (Yashodhara Dalmia, Understanding Raza: Many ways of looking at a Master, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2013, p. 54)

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.