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Syed Haider Raza (b. 1922) Bombay Signed and dated 'S.H. RAZA '59' lower right Acrylic on paper 27 x 37 7/16 in. (68.6 x 95.4 cm.)
Glenbarra Art Museum, Contemporary Indian Art: Glenbarra Art Museum Collection, Himeji, Japan, 1993, p. 32, illustrated.
Geeti Sen, Bindu: Space and Time in Raza's Vision, New Delhi, 1997, p. 34, illustrated.

Lot Essay

While several of his contemporaries in the Progressive Artists Group were focusing on painting figures, Raza's focus from the early days has always been landscapes and nature. He was more concerned with the search for 'significant form' through the introduction of 'color and form as purely raw material for his pictures,' (Geeti Sen, Mindscapes: Early Works by S.H. Raza, New Delhi, Delhi Art Gallery, 2001, p. 5.) and his introduction to oil and acrylic as alternate mediums to watercolor allowed him to fully exploit these possibilities.

The present example of the Bombay Cityscape from 1959 shows another innovation in his work: the use of multiple perspectives. Here, he has chosen to paint the city from an aerial view, where bold brushstrokes and bright colors combined with the play of light represent the varied textures and nuances of the city. Bombay has been a subject of fascination for Raza since the early 1940's when he first arrived there from the Nagpur School of Art. 'The intricate patterns of the city fascinated him, with its teeming millions and grids of houses. He paints the city in all its moods - sometimes with stark jagged roads and in savage colors.' (Geeti Sen, op. cit., p. 22.)


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