PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT CORPORATE COLLECTION
Oil on canvas
21 1/2 x 17 7/8 in. (54.6 x 45.7 cm.)
Signed and dated 'RAZA '64' lower right and further signed, dated and inscribed 'RAZA / P 587'64 / 10F' on reverse
Anne Macklin (ed.), S.H. Raza Catalogue Raisonne 1958-1971 (Volume 1), New Delhi, 2016, p. 123, P587, illustrated.
In 1950 Raza received a bursary from the French Government to study at the prestigious Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Upon moving to France, the artist was exposed to the European Modernists, whose experimental use of composition and colour inspired the development of his work, and in particular, the shift from watercolour to oil paint. His paintings of the next decade reflect these early experiences. The early part of the 1950s saw him experiment with structured cityscapes, where forms of the city were pared down to geometric contours, and then organised in an abstract pattern of colour to create an hallucinatory landscape, which occupied no particular time or place.
By the late 1950s he moved away from the structured gouache works and began to work with oil paint. He exploited its tactility and thickness to convey his impressions of the landscape around him. Nature and the landscape still remained of great significance for him. 'Nature has remained for him a pictorial metaphor. The forest, the mountain, the river. The sun exploding with energy and vibrations, dominating the landscape. These are compelling forces, creating a timeless zone. The elements become magnetic, as the only forces to control this world and to bring us closer to sense of harmony and visual order.' (Geeti Sen, Raza, New Delhi, 1990, unpaginated)
Rather than depict recognisable forms, his works became more concerned with conveying a mood or feeling. As Rudy von Leyden states, 'The 'subject' is irrelevant but the 'image' persists.' (Rudy von Leyden, Raza, Sadanga Series for Vakils, Bombay, 1959, p. 19) This move away from recognisable elements of the landscape towards a greater abstraction in pictorial forms continued over the next decade. By the mid-1960s, colour and brushstrokes are of primary importance and the mood of the painting takes precedence over the subject depicted.
'If in Raza's eyes, music, poetry and painting are sisters, if a Sanskrit poem is inserted in one of his paintings... Poetry joins hands with music. Its magic consists in treating colour so as to produce a play of appearances without object, which constitutes the extreme point of colouring.' (Waldemar George, 'Raza and the Orient of the Spirit', Lalit Kala Contemporary 16, New Delhi, September 1973, p. 35)
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About The Artist:
SYED HAIDER RAZA (1922 - 2016)