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An Artistic Voyage: S.H. Raza’s Evolution Through Different Decades
By Anandita Bhardwaj
27 Dec 2022
S H Raza’s artistic voyage delineates with absolute clarity; the creative evolution of an artist’s vision. He earnestly filtered the element of superfluous and rallied forward to establish an image which reflected his .His resilient spirit aided him to keep inertia at bay, while simultaneously, he embraced with gusto the deliverance of knowledge that he confronted. Evolving through several phases of artistic progression, the oeuvre of artist S.H. Raza has come to be one of the crowning glories of Modern Indian Art. Here are some of the iconic creations by the artist, which will be showcased in AstaGuru’s upcoming ‘Historic Masterpieces’ Auction.
Lot no 6: Cascade
S H Raza’s magnum opus expressionist creation from the year 1965 titled ‘Cascade’ from the sprawls with black. With thick strokes of black, illuminated by the sporadic application of white paint. S H Raza created this work of art just before he commenced his search for the source of the Bindu. He did continue to create expressionist works post this time period, however this phase was the epitome of his delving into this form of expression. Executed with acrylic on canvas, this work was also published in ‘S H Raza: Catalogue Raisonné 1958 – 1971 (Vol 1)’ by Vadehra Art Gallery and The Raza Foundation, New Delhi, in 2016.
Lot no. 10: ‘The Invisible Cross’
Titled ‘The Invisible Cross,’ the presented lot is a significant work S.H. Raza’s oeuvre as it was executed in a transitional phase of career which witnessed a change in theme, style, and medium and marked the beginning of an innovative painting period. Executed with oil on canvas in 1970, this work was also published in ‘S H Raza: Catalogue Raisonné 1958 – 1971 (Vol 1)’ by Vadehra Art Gallery and The Raza Foundation, New Delhi, in 2016.
Lot no. 13: Untitled
This work was created by artist S.H. Raza when he was residing in France. During this period, S. H. Raza solidified his own unique painterly character and style. The presented lot executed in 1956, set against a blazing bright skyline is in contrast with the dark hues that establish the terrain below. The architectural forms, represented by a row of rooftops; delineate the image, both from a visual as well as genre specific standpoint. As the identifiable structures merge with the ground, the imagery also begins to heighten with a sense of abstraction. The characteristic vegetation of the hinterland is implied by the expansive areas of applied green oil paint.
Lot no. 17: Bindu
By the 1970s S H Raza realised that he was missing the bhava (feeling) of Indian aesthetics. He envisioned entwining spirituality within his art, he yearned to encapsulate the sensory experience that was observed when one was in the presence of Classic Indian poetry, dance & music. He toiled to grasp the consecration of space in his art and researched intensely on structures, diagrams & colours. He studied about the canons that drive and constitute the mandalas and the chakras. However, he never did replicate them but chose to create and translate his own perception of shapes, colours and energy through his invented vocabulary. Finally after traversing a long path, he was able to take the master's throne of this universe which he had created and was his own. The result was the 'Bindu', the germination point of all creation. The motif without a doubt signified his rebirth as a painter.
Lot no. 28: L’Orage
Executed by the artist during an extremely productive phase, one that can be considered the epitome of his expressionist journey, the presented lot titled L’Orage, (The storm) from the year 1973 showcases the artist’s heightened sensibility with regards to the colour composition he adopted. The master’s ability to translate and etch the jurisprudence of energy in its purist, in its intangible state is the very foundation and the exposition of his artistic legacy. The image, established with dark tones, resonates with a distinguished sense of velocity, akin to the sensation that permeates through the atmosphere in the midst of a storm.
Lot no. 33: Bhoomi
With Bindu, Raza moved into pure geometric abstraction. The evolution could be termed an outcome of his love for nature fused with his inquiry into ‘pure plastic order.’ The presented lot executed with acrylic on canvas in 1987 comes on the precipice of ‘Bindu’ becoming the central focus in Raza’s work. Reflecting a deep understanding of his motherland, the painting is done in rich colour tones that are similar to the rich topography of central India.
Avant-Garde works from the oeuvre of India’s eminent modernists will be showcased in AstaGuru’s upcoming ‘Historic Masterpieces’ Modern Indian Art Auction scheduled on December 27-28, 2022. The finely curated catalogue presents a fine selection of 35 works by 19 artists including Hemendranath Mazumdar, F.N. Souza, S.H. Raza, Jehangir Sabavala, M.F. Husain, Akbar Padamsee, Bikash Bhattacharjee, Krishen Khanna, Jogen Chowdhury, Prabhakar Barwe, K.G. Subramanyan, Ram Kumar, J. Swaminathan, Somnath Hore, Himmat Shah, Satish Gujral, N.S Bendre, K.K. Hebbar, Nicholas Roerich. Several of these works are appearing in an auction for the first time. Please visit our website to view the entire catalogue and register for bidding.
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