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Lot Details

Signed and dated 'RAZA '05' (lower right)

Saffronart, New York
Bodhi Art, Singapore

S.H. Raza: Saffronart Gallery, New York, July, 2005
S.H. Raza: Berkeley Square Gallery, London, June, 2005

Raza was one of the founding members of the Progressive Artists Group. He travelled to France in the 1950's where, coupled with his proclivity towards post-impressionist art, he developed a conscious preference for Indian sensibilities in his artistic expression. In the late 1970's, he created images that improvised on a fundamental theme: the exposition of space, albeit metaphorically, in the mind. His focus lay in geometric forms and the ‘Bindu’, a theme that is now famously associated with the artist and has acquired the status of an icon.

Raza’s sense of the Bindu was intensely personal. He believed that in painting it, he was seated in the womb of time, devoid of any disturbance. It was a feeling that he associated with divinity, the creative process of the cosmos. His childhood memories in the forests of his native village in Madhya Pradesh, left a strong stamp in his imagination. Following his move to Paris in the 1950's, Raza’s work began to feature expressionist landscapes, rigid with geometric expressions of urban and bucolic France. In later years, his lines began to blur and colour became a dominant force on his canvas. Landscape remained his primary theme, but his emphasis shifted from the tangible aspects of a space to its more emotive and sentimental qualities.

The artist calls his work from the 1980's onwards a "result of two parallel enquiries." Firstly, it is aimed at a "pure plastic order" and secondly, it concerns the theme of nature. Both converge into a single point and become inseparable - the "Bindu" (the dot or the epicentre). "The Bindu symbolizes the seed, bearing the potential of all life."

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.