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Syed Haider Raza (b. 1922) Roussillon Signed and dated 'RAZA 58' lower right Acrylic on canvas 37 5/8 x 50 9/16 in. (95.4 x 128.7 cm.)
Montreal, Galerie Simon Dresdnere, Fall 1960.
Paris, Galerie Lara Vincy, 18 April - 15 May 1958.

Lot Essay

After moving to Paris in 1950, Raza spent the next few years using and experimenting with oil as a medium.

This 1958 work is significant in that it represents the turning point between two stages of Raza's artistic development. As the title indicates, it recalls a specific location in France and traces of the terrain are visible in the image, with its semi-abstract illustration of houses in the background, distinctive against the inky blue depth of the sky beyond and the green landscape in the foreground. However, the depiction of recognizable elements in the landscape is not as significant as the brushstrokes, which along with color become the key elements of his work in the 1960's. Color becomes of primary importance to him, and at this time it is around the use of 'raw, emotive color' that the painting is built. 'The vibrancy of color becomes a sensuous and physical presence, applied with a boldness that defies the need for subject matter - and for all else that mattered in a painting.' (Geeti Sen, Bindu: Space and Time in Raza's Vision, New Delhi, 1997, p. 76.)

What results is '...not an outward manifestation of reality as in his earliest works, or the imaginary landscapes in his early gouaches - but the "real thing", through the substantial realm of color. There is vigor here, and there is an irrepressible rhythm; but it is no longer nature as "seen" or as "constructed", but nature as experienced.' (Geeti Sen, op cit., p. 79.)


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