Raza's paintings of the 1950s were deeply influenced by the works of the Modernist Masters, particularly Cézanne and Van Gogh. The feverish explosion of color on his canvases signified a major breakthrough in his treatment of both space and medium. In the words of Rudi von Leyden, 'This triumphal handling of paint, this living in paint, can only be understood as an act of love.' (Raza, Sadanga Series, 1959, p. 19).
The subject matter of his paintings during this period was the French countryside, '...Cezanne's Provence, as a matter of fact, and the Maritime Alps where the French landscape with its trees, mountains, villages and churches, became his staple diet." (Yashodhara Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives, 2001, pp. 151-2).
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