SYED HAIDER RAZA (1922-2016)
SYED HAIDER RAZA (1922-2016)

Untitled (La Terre)

SYED HAIDER RAZA (1922-2016)
Untitled (La Terre)
signed and dated 'RAZA 1978' (lower center); further signed and dated 'RAZA / 1978' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
21 ½ x 31 ½ in. (54.6 x 80 cm.)
Painted in 1978
Acquired directly from the artist
Private collection, France
Acquired from the above by the present owner
New York, Aicon Gallery, Split Vision, Abstraction in Modern Indian Painting, 18 August - 17 September, 2016

Lot Essay

"[Raza's] art in any case was a very satisfying way of retrieving lost locus, the physically abandoned home. For him hereafter art was to be home, reconstructed through memory, resonance and imagination [...] a space where he could connect with the infinite, the limitless and the timeless." (A. Vajpeyi, ed., A Life in Art: S.H. Raza, Hyderabad, 2007, p. 98)

Although Syed Haider Raza's paintings from the La Terre series of the 1970s and 80s articulate the affinity with nature which his work has always been founded on, they are additionally linked to his recollections of the forests of Madhya Pradesh in Central India where he grew up. In paintings of this style, the depiction of landscape becomes less about cognitive recognition and figuration and more concerned with spiritual and experiential memory in the expression of place. For Raza, who lived in France at the time, these landscapes provided a conduit of communication with home. They are emotive in their representation of the physical and the remembered, and allowed the artist to express the deep connection he continued to feel with the land where he was born.

Here, the artist's boldly expressive and saturated use of color including orange, ochre and black recalls the baked earth, dense forests and dark nights of his childhood and the emotions they evoked in him. Like traditional miniature paintings, the composition has a border around it and relies primarily on color to convey the landscape, relegating representation to flickers of light visible through the artist's loose, gestural brushwork. This is at once a departure from Raza's previous style, and a precursor to his heavily structured geometric canvases that would soon follow.

For further discussion of this period of the artist's work, see lot 222.

More from South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art

View All
View All