Home page

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI (1894-1975)
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, VIRGINIA
ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI (1894-1975)

Untitled (Woman Holding a Water Jar)

Details
ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI (1894-1975)
Untitled (Woman Holding a Water Jar)
signed in Urdu (lower left)
ink and watercolor on paper
25 ¾ x 21 5/8 in. (65.5 x 55 cm.)
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist, circa 1964-65
Sotheby's New York, 10 October 1997, lot 16
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Lot Essay

Regarded as one of the most acclaimed Pakistani artists of the twentieth century, Abdur Rahman Chughtai is known to have portrayed famous personalities from Islamic history and depicted scenes from various religious and Mughal texts. The artist began his training at the Mayo School of Art, Lahore, in 1911, where he was taught by Samarendranath Gupta, a pupil of Abanindranath Tagore. Five years later, he would become part of the Mayo faculty, when he was appointed head of the institution’s photolithography department. While the artist is celebrated for his poetic metaphors, he is also known to have championed the poor and downtrodden, elevating them to heroic and stoic figures of beauty and pride in his paintings. The two works by Chughtai (lots 234 and 239) offer a perfect example of the artist’s virtuosity and refinement in this particular genre.

The delicacy of the line contouring the female figures and the richness of their ornaments illustrate Chughtai’s conscious resolution to revive the Persian style, while the refined colors of Woman Holding a Water Jar testify to his close analysis of the exquisite Mughal aesthetics. This unique style has been qualified as “Persian-Mughal mannerism” (I.U. Hassan, Painting in Pakistan, Lahore, 1991, p. 37) and also bears the influence of the Pre-Raphaelite paintings the artist encountered in London and other cities during his travels in Europe.

More from South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art

View All
View All