PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT CORPORATE COLLECTION
Acrylic on canvas
39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in. (100 x 100 cm.)
Signed and dated 'RAZA '72' lower left, further signed, dated and inscribed 'RAZA / 1972 / 100 x 100' and further inscribed 'RAZA S.H. / 81 Av. Secretan / 75019 - PARIS / La Source" / (Pas a vendre) / Acrlique sur toile - / 100 x 100 cm' on a Biennale Internationale d'art de Menton label on reverse"
Waldemar George, 'Raza and the Orient of the Spirit', Lalit Kala Contemporary 16, New Delhi, September 1973, pp. 32-33, illustrated.
La Source belongs to the group of works done during the pivotal period of the early 1970s when Raza's works integrate all the key elements that had inspired his work thus far. Executed within a few months of Tapovan (1972) and La Terre (1973), the title of the work reinforces Raza's return to his original source of inspiration - the forests of Madhya Pradesh where he spent his childhood; the sights, sounds and colours of which left an indelible mark on his visual vocabulary.
In the artist's own words: 'The most tenacious memory of my childhood is the fear and fascination of Indian forests.. Nights in the forest were hallucinating; sometimes the only humanising influence was the dancing of the Gond tribes. Daybreak brought back a sentiment of security and well-being. On market-day, under the radiant sun, the village was a fairyland of colours. And then, the night again.' (As told to Yashodhara Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art, The Progressives, New Delhi, 2001, p. 155)
This symbolic return to the place of his youth was coupled with a change in medium. After making the transition from gouache to oil paint in the late 1950s, and experimenting thoroughly with all the decadent textural possibilities the medium offered, Raza switched to acrylic paint around this time. This change was reflective of the visual transformations that occurred simultaneously in his work. The quick-drying, fluid acrylics allowed him to fully exploit the free-flowing, gestural brushstrokes he employed to successfully capture the depths of restrained energy and burnished colours, so evocative of the forests of his youth.
As had been his preference since the mid-1960s, Raza's landscapes no longer represented a specific location. Rather, they relied expressly on brushstrokes, colours, and application of pigment to communicate the overall mood of the painting. When recalling the Indian landscape, Raza drew much inspiration from the traditional use of colours in Indian miniature painting, specifically Pahari and Rajasthan, and the teachings of Sanskrit and Urdu poetry to define his aesthetic choices.
'...Colours were not being used as merely formal elements: they were emotionally charged. Their movements or consonances on the canvases seemed more and more to be provoked by emotions, reflecting or embodying emotive content. The earlier objectivity, or perhaps the distance started getting replaced or at least modified by an emergent subjectivity - colours started to carry the light load of emotions more than ever before.' (Ashok Vajpeyi, A Life in Art: S.H. Raza, New Delhi, 2007, p. 78) Specific choices and combinations of colours were paramount to Raza at this time, and black often dominated the palette. 'For black was the mother of all colours and the one from which all others were born. It was also the void from which sprang the manifest universe [...] Some of the most haunting works of this period are those which evoke the night where the liminal sheaths of black are illuminated by sparks of white light... As with Mark Rothko, black is one of the richest colours in Raza's palette and signifies a state of fulsomeness. However, for both painters, colours plumb the depths and are not simply used for their own sake.' (Yashodhara Dalmia, 'The Subliminal World of Raza', 'A Life in Art: S.H. Raza, New Delhi, 2007, p. 197)
The combined effect of all these various influences is a canvas that resonates with the deep, rich tones of the Indian night, its all-encompassing darkness broken with the promise of the joys and surprises the new dawn will bring, communicated through lyrical and generous bursts of red, orange and yellow, all against the integral white which symbolises the light. As Richard Bartholomew said, 'Raza is a painter's painter. In his art, the Indian palette triumphs over the avant-garde image... he is interested in the life of colour and the life he can depict through colour.' (Richard Bartholomew, requoted in 'Remembering Raza', The Deccan Herald, 5 August, 2017)
In the artist's own words, 'It was the search for the intangible. My quest to create the tangible altered during the seventies. I tried to find ways to capture the moods of places and people. I had a preoccupation with evoking the essence of emotions and moods more than a visual sight. Elementary experiences of night and day, joy and anguish, summer and winter became my subjects for the fact that they were felt more than seen. From that gestural period of tones and expression, I moved to a new period in the eighties.'
# Import duty at 11% will be charged on the hammer price and GST will be applicable on the total amount of the hammer price plus the import duty.
About The Artist:
SYED HAIDER RAZA (1922 - 2016)