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ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI (1894-1975)
PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION
ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI (1894-1975)

Untitled (Lady with Sunflowers)

Details
ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI (1894-1975)
Untitled (Lady with Sunflowers)
signed in Urdu (lower left)
watercolor on paper
17 x 15 in. (43.2 x 38.1 cm.)
Provenance
Property from the collection of a friend of the artist, who met Chughtai at a reception in San Francisco and fostered a friendship with him through exchanges of art books for his paintings
Bequeathed to a Canadian private collector by the above
Christie's New York, 21 September 2005, lot 256
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Brought to you by

Nishad Avari
Nishad Avari

Lot Essay

What distinguishes Abdur Rahman Chughtai’s work is his exceptional skill as a draughtsman. In his paintings, which allowed him a larger surface than his etchings and drawings, he indulged in exceptionally detailed compositions with subtle, flowing lines. Described as “inaudible poetry made visible” (J. Bautze, Interaction of Cultures: Indian and Western Painting, 1780-1910, Virginia, 1998, p. 137), Chughtai’s attractive watercolors are based on subjects ranging from Buddhist stories and Hindu epics to Islamic history, illustrative paintings for the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and portraits based on Ghalib’s poetry.

The delicacy of the line contouring his female figures and the richly detailed rendering of their ornaments and the drapery of their flowing outfits illustrate Chughtai’s conscious resolution to revive the Persian style miniature painting, with close attention to Mughal aesthetics. The unique style he developed has been called ‘Persian-Mughal mannerism’ (I.U. Hassan, Painting in Pakistan, Lahore, 1991, p. 37) and bears the influence of the Pre-Raphaelite paintings the artist encountered in London and other cities during his travels in Europe as well.
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