Lot 526
  • 526

Sayed Haider Raza

120,000 - 180,000 USD
243,750 USD
bidding is closed


  • Sayed Haider Raza
  • Cagnes-sur-Mer
  • Signed and dated 'S.H. RAZA.' lower right and further signed, dated and inscribed 'S.H. RAZA / 55, Bd. Jourdan / Paris IGE / Cagnes Sur mer / 1952' on reverse
  • Gouache and ink on cardboard 


Acquired directly from the artist in the 1950s 


Paris, Galerie Saint-Placide, Padamsee-Raza-Souza: Peintres Indiens, February 1952


P.R. Ramachandra Rao, Modern Indian Painting, Rachana, Madras, 1953, illustration p.  XXII
A. Vajpeyi, Geysers: Letters Between Sayed Haider Raza & His Artist-Friends, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2013, illustration unpaginated

Catalogue Note

“It was in 1952 that I saw the first works of Raza, recently arrived in Paris from India. They were strange and unusual works: timeless landscapes, uninhabited cities detached from the earth, bathed in cold light. Schematized houses were linked one to another in an endless, sinuous chain, suspended in the air beneath a black sun.” (J. Lassaigne, Art et Architecture Actuels no. 79, Cimaise, Paris, 1969, n.p.)
This is an archetypal example of Sayed Haider Raza’s early work which provides a rare glimpse in to his foundational practice.  Often referred to as his classic phase, Raza uses the saturation of hues and colors to display a new type of landscape; he simultaneously makes discourses about his new French abode. Exhibiting a preference for gouache and watercolor, Raza used this time and this period to test out techniques and hone in on his practice. Also obvious in this work is the influence from early Renaissance and the ‘Sienese’ townscapes with the buildings along the horizon.
“Each shape was carefully related to another, weighed, balanced [un]til it had found its place in the composition which would appear unshakeable. Color had undergone the most intricate studies to be able to express the finest overtones of a poetic situation. Because that is what these paintings really are: poetic situations. They were as austere and sensitive as the landscape backgrounds in the paintings of the Sienese primitives with their garlands of houses, walls and towers strung across the horizon.” (R. Von Leyden, Raza, Sadanga Publications, Bombay, 1959, p. 18)
Whilst in Paris, Raza initially exhibited with fellow Indian artists Akbar Padamsee and Francis Newton Souza at Galerie Saint Placide where this work was also exhibited in February of 1952. This painting found a new home in the artist's most prominent backer, Madame Lara Vincy and remained in her personal collection until her death and thereafter with her family. Galerie Lara Vincy’s support of Raza during his formative years as a student provided him with the emotional and financial support to continue his artistic journey and offered him the freedom of exploration that he craved and for which he left India. Both this and the following lot are highly prized examples of a unique relationship and provenance between the artist and his first major gallery.