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ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI (1894-1975)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more
ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI (1894-1975)

Untitled (Laila in the Wilderness)

Details
ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI (1894-1975)
Untitled (Laila in the Wilderness)
signed in Urdu (lower left)
watercolour on paper
22¼ x 18 5/8 in. (56.5 x 47.3 cm.)
Provenance
Sotheby's London, 8 June 2000, lot 138
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Special Notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Damian Vesey
Damian Vesey

Lot Essay

Abdur Rahman Chughtai’s paintings often portrayed Hindu deities, Mughal royalty and personalities from Indo-Islamic folklore. He is also known for his delicate renditions of female figures, usually depicted in elaborate clothing and finery. In the present lot he has used a soft meditative palette along with flowing lines to suggest the vulnerability and fragility of his subject who is lost in the wilderness.
“[Chughtai] retains the distinctive mood and posture of the Persian tradition but gives his paintings a special quality of his own in lovely colour combination, in delicious lines that seem to be less lines of painting than of some inaudible poetry made visible, in folds of drapery that are never mere coverings to or discoverings of the human body [...], in the decorative backgrounds that call the imagination away from the tyranny of the actual, into free citizenship of the realm of romance.” (J. Bautze, Interaction of Cultures: Indian and Western Painting, 1780-1910, Virginia, 1998, p. 137)
Chughtai was also an unrivalled draftsman and printmaker. He began working with the medium in the mid-1930s, and honed his skills as a printmaker when he was a student at the School of Photo Engraving and Lithography in London. It is not surprising that he served as an instructor of the chromolithography department at Mayo School of Arts, and even ran his own printing press from the late 1920s. His etchings were printed in small editions and were rarely numbered (see lots 2-3).

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