In 1950, Sayed Haider Raza left for Paris with a bursary from the French Government to study at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Whilst in Paris, Raza achieved commercial success and in 1956 was awarded the prestigious Prix de La Critique, which provided Raza with international recognition. During his time in France, Raza was exposed to the Post-Impressionist artists, in particular, Paul Cézanne who he greatly admired for his ability to create structure through colour. Raza later moved to Gorbio, where he became enamoured by the French countryside. 'The landscape with its trees, mountains, villages, and churches became his staple diet' (Y. Dalmia, 'Journeys with the Black Sun', The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives
, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2001 p. 152). The current work painted in 1958 is typical of this period; heavy impasto and architectural elements appear within an abstracted lyrical landscape, with the palette derived from Raza’s continued interest in Rajput miniature painting.
'Be it village, town or church, the world according to Raza was aflame. It was being forged anew through the crucible of recollection—baptized through fire.' (G. Sen, Bindu, Space and Time in Raza’s Vision, Media Transasia Ltd, New Delhi, 1997, p.66). The current work as with Church painted a year earlier display the same 'charred roofs' that 'burn in their intensity against a smouldering orange sky.' (Y. Dalmia, 'Journeys with the Black Sun', The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2001 p. 152).