Before the ‘bindu’, there was Bombay

As a rare watercolour of Bombay by Raza goes on auction in June, we look at how the city influenced and inspired the artist.

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In Memoriam: S H Raza

raza

S H Raza (1922 – 2016)

“My attempt is to create an art which goes beyond time and place.”
—Syed Haider Raza (22 February 1922 – 23 July 2016)

S H Raza, one of India’s leading Modernists, passed away on 23 July 2016 at the age of 94.

Raza was, like his beloved Bindu, a vibrant and essential part of modern art in India. A founding member of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, he redefined the notion of Modernism with his deeply spiritual and intellectual quest for artistic expression.

Haut de Cagnes 1951

S H Raza, Haut De Cagnes, 1951

Le Village 1956

S H Raza, Le Village, 1956

In his formative years, Raza painted landscapes and cityscapes, influenced by his time in France. Frequent visits to India drew him to the vibrant colours of Rajasthan and the forests of his childhood in Madhya Pradesh, both of which he transformed onto his canvases in the form of gestural abstraction.

Untitled 1971

S H Raza, Untitled, 1971

Oasis 1975

S H Raza, Oasis, 1975

In the 1970s, Raza changed direction to focus on purely geometric forms, symbolizing myriad aspects of Hindu philosophy. Crucial to these metaphysical paintings was the recurring Bindu – the seed from which all life forms emerge. For Raza, the act of painting itself was a meditative experience, and spirituality was always the core of his art.

Encountre 1985

S H Raza, Encountre, 1985

Surya Namaskar 1993

S H Raza, Surya-Namaskar, 1993

Saffronart joins the extended art community in mourning the loss of the master. For more tributes, please see:

Bose Krishnamachari, Times of India: “He understood colour, darkness, light, line, thinness and thickness of layers. He was friends with poets, writers and youngsters and admired by everyone. He led a life of precision.”

Krishen Khanna, Hindustan Times: “One cannot pedal on one pedal for your entire life… Raza always kept reinventing. Every painting he created was a breath of fresh air.”

Ashok Vajpeyi, ET Panache: “Along with his contemporaries, Raza created an alternative spiritual modernism, not built of dissonance or tension but consonance and harmony… In the end, for Raza, the distance between life and work had disappeared. He lived to paint and he painted so he could live on.”

Horizon 1979

S H Raza, Horizon, 1979

Spring Art Auction – New York Preview

A selection of snapshots of the display and preview for our Spring Art Auction at Saffronart, New York.

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Bidding begins 25 March 2013 at 9:00 a.m. IST

Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation presents Abstraction show in Mumbai

Guest blogger, Hena Kapadia recommends an exhibition on Indian abstraction in Mumbai

"A view of the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery at the opening of Nothing is Absolute"

Ranjit Hoskote speaking at the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery at the opening of “Nothing is Absolute”

Mumbai: Earlier this week, the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation opened its third show entitled “Nothing is Absolute: A Journey through Abstraction.” The show has been thoughtfully curated by Ranjit Hoskote and Mehlli Gobhai at the foundation’s permanent gallery space at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghralaya (CSMVS). The artists whose works are on display include S.H. Raza, Laxman Shrestha, V.S. Gaitonde, Akbar Padamsee, Ram Kumar and Gobhai. The show pushes our conceptions of the boundaries of Indian abstraction by including works like 17th century Islamic tiles from the CSMVS permanent collection along with the selection of modern abstract works from the Foundation’s collection.The layered interpretation of Indian abstraction as well as the inclusion older works, usually unmentioned in this modern context, make this a show a must see.

This show underscored another interesting facet of recent art exhibitions: dual curation. The challenges and conversations that come with collaborative curation were discussed at the opening by Mr. Gobhai, an artist, and Mr. Hoskote, a poet, independent curator and critic, and both indicated that working together was more helpful in producing a well rounded and nuanced exhibition.

Read more about the exhibition.

Installation view of the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery

Installation view of the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery

Hena Kapadia is a Mumbai based art professional, who has a Master’s Degree in Modern and Contemporary Art World Practice.

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