- Syed Haider Raza's masterpiece, Paysage Nocturne for sale at Bonhams
- Indian modernists are the stars of forthcoming South Asian Art sale
Syed Haider Raza's 'Paysage Nocturne' (1960) is a masterpieces of South Asian modernism. Recently discovered, it will be auctioned for the first time at Bonhams' Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art sale on 22 November. The work is estimated at £30,000-50,000.
Syed Haider Raza (1922-2016, India) was a founding member of the Progressive Artists Group formed in Bombay (alongside M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, K.H. Ara and H.A. Gade) in 1947. Together, these Indian artists attempted to escape the confines of colonial 'high art' through new stylistic methods.
In 1950 Raza received a bursary from the French Government to study at the prestigious École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Moving to France, the artist was exposed to the Post-Impressionists (notably Cezanne and Van Gogh) whose experimental use of composition and colour inspired the development of his work, in particular a shift from watercolour to oil paint.
Having initially exhibited alongside other Indian modernists at Galerie St. Placide and Galerie Creuz, from 1955 until 1971 Raza exhibited exclusively with Galerie Lara Vincy where he achieved critical and commercial success. Lara Vincy's gallery was in the Saint-Germain district, home to the bohemian literati of the Existentialist movement and the Parisian Jazz scene.
Under Vincy's guidance, Raza was awarded the prestigious Prix de La Critique. With the global recognition this brought, Raza enjoyed international presence with exhibitions at the Venice, Brussels and Sao Paulo Biennales. Last year Raza was awarded the highest possible honour for a French civilian, the Legion d'honneur.
In early 2016 the first catalogue raisonné of Raza's work was published - completed weeks before the artist's death. This preliminary volume comprised works listed in the Galerie Lara Vincy inventory. Paysage Nocturne (the striking Raza up for auction at Bonhams) was discovered soon after publication. This celebrated addition to the artist's canon now comes to the market for the first time. With its dramatic and colourful structure and heavy impasto, Paysage Nocturne is testament to Raza's influences – both the French Impressionist and Indian modernist drive to innovate.
Other works include
Francis Newton Souza (1924-2002, India), 'English Countryside', 1958 (estimated £50,000-70,000)
A formative member of Bombay's Progressive Artists' Group, Souza moved to London in 1949 where friendship with poet Stephen Spender opened doors to Gallery One. It was there that Souza's bold, dynamic style, an approach that he described as 'full of fire ... full of brilliant colours!' gained great critical acclaim. He went on to receive the Guggenheim International Award in 1967.
Ram Kumar (b. 1924, India), 'Untitled', 1960s Banaras period (estimated £80,000-120,000)
Kumar is celebrated as one of India's foremost abstract painters. Having studied under Fernand Leger in Paris, the artist returned to India where he applied Impressionist and Cubist techniques to his studies of Varanasi. Based in that city throughout the early 1960s, it became the prime subject of his early forays into abstraction – a style that would fully mature later in the artist's career.
Tahmina Ghaffar, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art Specialist at Bonhams said, 'This is a remarkable sale of works by South Asian artists whose styles and methods show the clear conversation between east and west. We are particularly delighted to be bringing Syed Haider Raza's Paysage Nocturne to auction for the first time. A beautiful and important work, this is an exciting opportunity for collectors and admirers of modernism the world over.'
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit bonhams.com