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Lot Details

Signed and dated 'Raza '98' (lower center left)
Further signed, dated, inscribed and titled 'Raza / 1998 / 100 x 100 cm / "Rajasthan" / Acrylic on canvas' (on the reverse)
Further signed in Hindi (on the reverse)

Private collection, Dubai

Alain Bonfand, Raza, Editions de La Différence, Paris, 2008, pg. 175 (illustrated)

The idea of nature remained ingrained prominently to S.H. Raza's works through the ages. He posited that man is intrinsically linked to his surroundings and has a keen awareness of his environment and the element that constitute it, hence, the inspiration of the Indian and French landscape into his works; and prominent use of the colors of nature.

Despite leaving India for France in 1950, Raza maintained a deep bond with the landscape of his native country. The compilation of memories from his childhood and his numerous visits after would later manifest themselves in various forms in his canvases as he continued to address this subject during his long illustrious career.

One of several paintings of the same name that evoke memories of the artist's homeland, the current lot Rajasthan, seen here, is painted in 1998. The style represents Raza's more mature phase mark by the return to his source and borrowing inspiration from Rajasthan miniatures not just on the composition but also the palette. The flaming colors pulsate across the canvas depicting the rhythms of nature while evoking the vibrancy and spirit of both the Indian landscape and its people.

"Rajasthan becomes a metaphor for the colors of India: of vibrant greens and vermilion and ochres, as also blacks. Rajasthan is the mapping out of a metaphorical space in the mind which is then enclosed with a broad border in vermilion... The image becomes thus enshrined as an icon, as sacred geography." (G. Sen, Bindu: Space and Time in Raza's Vision, New Delhi, 1997, p. 98.)

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.