Lot 108
  • 108

Sayed Haider Raza

25,000 - 35,000 USD
75,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Sayed Haider Raza
  • Untitled (Houseboats)
  • Signed 'S.H. RAZA' lower right and bearing a Chemould label as well as two additional distressed exhibition labels on reverse

  • Gouache on board


Acquired at an auction in the United Kingdom in the 1980s
Gifted by the above to the present owner

Catalogue Note

‘Eventually he ceased to limit himself to pure nature, his interest passing to city and village life, has found himself moved by the Indian scene so full of sunshine and colorful costume, so crammed with the interest of old architecture. In the brilliance and special quality of the sunlight of central India he found peculiar delight – it pervades his pictures’. ('Vision in Art (6) S.H. Raza', A review of a solo show, 1950 in A. Vajpeyi, A Life in Art: Raza, Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi, 2007, p. 50)
These paintings are archetypal examples of some of Sayed Haider Raza’s earliest work  and provides a rare glimpse into the beginnings of his artistic practice. In the mid-1940s, Raza moved from Nagpur to Bombay, where he studied at the Sir JJ School of Art and painted mostly in watercolors and gouaches, the preferred medium of art schools at the time. His subjects were landscapes and street scenes captured in a variety of moods, defined by a shifting interplay of light and color. Raza has recalled that this time was a 'sort of awakening, a realization of the real values involved in painting… in Bombay I realized that a painter should know his language as a writer should know the vocabulary … a painter should know what color is; he should know the organization of colors, their values, and how to render a theme on paper, or on canvas.' (A. Vajpeyi, Passion: Life and Art of Raza, Rajkamal Books, New Delhi, 2005, p. 41) During this time, with the support of western expatriates such as Rudy von Leyden and Walter Langhammer, Raza discovered and developed the principal artistic stimuli that echo throughout his career, the land and the nature around him.  Subsequent travels to Kashmir where he would meet renowned photographer,  Henri Cartier –Bresson further inspired his practice. These works appear to be have been painted during or right after a visit to Kashmir.
Both these paintings from the 1940s also encapsulate the two key influences on Raza at the time. While the application of loose, gestural brushwork, fluid shapes, and the play of light depict impressionistic overtures, the use of potent and vibrant colors evoking vivid reactions exhibit his leanings towards expressionism.