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Lot Details

Signed and dated 'RAZA '04' (lower right)
Further signed, titled, dated and inscribed 'RAZA / "Dhayan" / 2004 / acrylic on canvas / 100 x 100 cm' (on the reverse)
Further inscribed in Hindi and English 'Did I do it. Oh no. It just happened suddenly' (on the reverse)
Further signed and dated 'Raza, 15th April 2004' (on the reverse)

Acquired directly from the artist

Alain Bonfand, Raza, Paris, 2008, p. 221 (illustrated)
Ashok Vajpeyi, A life in Art: Raza, Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi, 2007 p. 291 (illustrated)
Olivier Germain-Thomas, S.H. Raza: Mandalas, Paris, 2004, p.101 (illustrated)

"S.H. Raza first painted the Bindu in the late 1970's; a single, solid black dot that lay unmoving at the center of a field of muted colour. Since these early engagement, however, the bindu has taken on several different layers of meaning in Raza's work. In an even deeper extension of his work, Raza arrived at bija, the seed which is the core of existence and which gives birth to the fecund, fertile world. In his evolutionary manner, Raza's ruminations began to arrive at the Param or the eternal Bindu where the soft shades of ochre, green and white are transposed from light to dark in subtle nuances conveying a sense of movement. If naad bindu denotes the eternal rhythm underlying creation then the Shanti Bindu as in this work which followed emanated in its rarefied colour harmonies the enveloping peace which wrapped the universe. Sometimes the bija or seed, bearing infinite generative potential, and at others a large black orb, surrounded by concentric rings of multiple hues, the bindu has generated an iconic non-objective idiom for the artist." [...] (Ashok Vajpeyi, A life in Art: Raza, Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi, 2007 p. 198-199)

In one of his canvases in 2004, Raza made another interpretation of the bindu, with rings radiating from the black core of the painting to a less darker shades of black, and finally to an almost abstinent palette of whites and grays. The work, with a title that translates into contemplation, the black bindu transmits white light spreading serenity and clarity with gentler quality as it reaches the edges of the canvas.

"Likening these recent almost monochromatic works to a new step in his spiritual journey towards significant form and the infinite, Raza notes: "I have found a divine quest in me to come to the essentials. Less is more. And I thought, that to express my aspiration to the divine, I would use fewer colours, to create a sacred feel" [...] (Understanding Raza: Many ways of looking at a Master, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2013, p. 345)

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.