Abdur Rahman Chughtai remains one of the most acclaimed Pakistani artists of the Twentieth Century. The artist began his training at the Mayo School of Art, Lahore in 1911, where he was taught by Samarendranath Gupta, who was a pupil of Abanindranath Tagore. Five years later, he would become part of the Mayo faculty, when he was appointed head of the institution’s photolithography department.
What distinguishes Chughtai as a Modern Pakistani master was his virtuosic skill as a draughtsman, evident in this gem-like study in pencil and watercolour. It was this skill that also allowed him to become one of the most successful printmakers in the region, and, by 1928, Chughtai had founded his own printing press.
The delicate flowing lines, intricate compositions and vibrant tones of Chughtai’s work owe much to Pahari, Mughal and Rajput court paintings, which the artist collected as early as the 1920s. He is credited with reinterpreting the aesthetics of Mughal and Persian painting, calligraphy, architecture and ornamentation in his paintings and etchings. Rather than traditional, Chughtai's work extended an engagement with tradition, firmly establishing him as a modern artist of great significance.