Syed Haider Raza, a member of revolutionary Progressive Artist Group, experimented with currents of Western Modernism moving from Expressionist modes towards greater abstraction and eventually incorporating elements of Tantrism bourne from Indian scriptural texts. Whereas his fellow contemporaries dealt with more figural subjects, Raza chose to focus on landscapes in the 1940s and 50s, inspired in part by a move to the France in 1949.
Enamored with the bucolic countryside of rural France, Eglise is part of a series which captures the rolling terrain and quaint village architecture of this region. Showing a tumultuous church engulfed by an inky blue night sky, Raza uses gestural brushstrokes and a heavily impasto-ed application of paint, stylistic devices which hint at his later 1970s abstractions. This late 50s work is significant in that it represents the turning point between two stages of Raza's artistic development. While subject matter is still recognizable, color and the application of paint become the key elements of the work overpowering the relevancy of the village scene. 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. It is no longer nature as 'seen' or as 'constructed', but nature as experienced." (G. Sen, Bindu: Space and Time in Raza's Vision, New Delhi, 1997, p. 79.)