Progressives Maqbool Fida Husain and Sayed Haider Raza also responded to this trend in the mid 1950s when they began incorporating non-figurative elements in their works. The very essence of the Progressive Artists' Group has been enunciated by eminent art historian Geeta Kapur, “This is what has now been recognized to be the elliptical looping of vocabularies and affects that have generated multiple modernisms. ...[Indian modernism] exercised its own creativity in the period of transition to modernity, devising formal transfers, visual articulations and cultural hybrids that were eclectic and integral to its own civilisational genius and to its own historical needs.” (G. Kapur, 'Modern India: A Retrospective on the Practice of Art,' India Moderna, Valencia: IVAM Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, 2008, p. 335). This subtle equilibrium is discernible in the current lot by Raza - a beautiful Indian landscape in rich yellows and reds.
Western abstractionists may have influenced Raza, but the use of colours this incendiary and passionate was entirely his own. The Devanagari script inscribed on the canvas reads the Hindi word aaj, meaning 'today'. This work proudly announces exactly that: today, a spirit of freshness, the new, of a truly Indian abstraction, and a vital force for advancing history.
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