D'après Berlinger, oil on board, signed, titled and dated '57 upper right, framed, 54 x 52.1cm (21 1/4 x 20 1/2in).
Provenance: Formerly in a private French collection.
S.H. Raza's D'après Berlinger was executed at a transitional stage in the artist's career where his works were beginning to lean more towards the abstraction that would define his later career from the early 1960s onwards, and away from the semi-abstract landscapes of the 1950s. It is however during this period where we can best observe the artist's changing style and elements in his works that morphed into his starkly abstract paintings of the 1970s and 80s.
One of the defining features of Raza's works from the 1950s was his heavy use of impasto. D'après Berlinger is rendered in this technique and the emotive use of warm earthy hues of orange, red and green are extremely expressive of the artist's love of India and are used again and again in the artist's later works.
The simple composition of the work and the fact that the buildings almost completely fill the space gives them an imposing sense of scale, promoted by the use of shadow and blocks of dark colours.
Speaking of Raza's thick impasto landscapes of the mid 1950s, Jacques Lassaigne, the then director of the Museum of Modern Art in Paris said; 'The seeming difference between his canvases of today and his gouaches of yesterday corresponds to the transition from one technique, in which lightness of touch is everything, to another, richer and more complex, which calls for all the resources at the artist's command. Pure forms take shapes no longer in the void, but in revelatory opacity that threatens it.' (quoted in Ashok Vajpeyi, A Life in Art: S.H. Raza, Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi, 2007, p.73).
References: Yashodhara Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives, New Delhi, 2001, pp.143-155.