Lot 1358
  • 1358

Sayed Haider Raza (b.1922)

200,000 - 300,000 USD
250,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Sayed Haider Raza
  • Untitled
  • Signed and dated 'RAZA 1978' lower centre and further signed, dated and inscribed 'RAZA 1978 / 73 X 60 cm’ on reverse
  • Acrylic on canvas


A. Vajpeyi, RAZA, Paris, 2002, unpaginated

Catalogue Note

In this iconic painting, Sayed Haider Raza brings together his influences from France and India to represent an enlightened depiction of nature. One of the founding members of the Bombay Progressives, Raza left for Paris in 1950 on a scholarship from the Alliance Francaise. Whilst in Paris, he was exposed to and influenced by the Post-Impressionists and in particular the work of Cezanne who he greatly admired for his ability to construct form through colour. He later moved to Provence, Cezanne country, where he embraced the beauty of the rural French countryside through his work. '... the landscape with its trees, mountains, villages and churches became his staple diet.' (Yashodhara Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art, The Progressives, New Delhi, 2001, p.152) Raza has commented, "Sometime between 1975 and 1980, I began to feel the draw of my Indian heritage. I thought: I come from India, I have a different vision; I should incorporate what I have learned in France with Indian concepts. In this period, I visited India every year to study Indian philosophy, iconography, magic diagrams (yantras), and ancient Indian art, particularly Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain art. I was impressed by paintings from Basholi, Malwa, and Mewar, and began combining colours in a manner that echoed Indian miniature painting." (Raza in conversation with Amrita Jhaveri, Sotheby’s Preview, March/April 2007, p.57)

This present painting is from that transitional period in Raza's oeuvre and illustrates his progression towards total abstraction. The geometry is born from the precepts of Hindu philosophy but is seeded in the creative influences of his time in France. The flaming red, orange and yellow colours pulsate across the canvas depicting the rhythms of nature. Like Francis Newton Souza and Maqbool Fida Husain, Raza was first exposed to the mastery of Indian miniature painting and sculpture at the 1947 Royal Academy exhibition that toured Delhi and Bombay. 'Even at that early age - I must have been about 24 or 25 - I thought there was something extremely important in the Mughal miniatures, Rajput paintings, Jain miniatures and, of course, Indian sculpture.' (Sayed Haider Raza and Ashok Vajpeyi, Passion: Life and Art of Raza, New Delhi, 2005. p. 37) He was intrigued by the way Rajput painters used colour structurally, not naturalistically, to create vistas of palace compounds, gardens, forests, and hills. (Yashodhara Dalmia, Journeys: Four Generations of Indian Artists in Their Own Words, 2 vols., New Delhi, 2011, p. 52). The present painting is a wonderful example of one of Raza's most creative periods. The elegance of this painting is matched only by the brilliant and organic geometry of its colours.