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S. H. Raza, dynamic as ever

Saffronart's forthcoming auction has picks from every phase of the artist's practice

‘In A Forest’ (circa 1940s), by S.H. Raza. Photo credit: Saffronart
‘In A Forest’ (circa 1940s), by S.H. Raza. Photo credit: Saffronart

The year 2018 has been touted as a big one for Tyeb Mehta, with leading auction houses pegging the late modernist’s works among their top-selling lots. However, this year could also be his contemporary S.H. Raza’s moment in the art market—not that he ever went out of fashion among collectors—with Saffronart’s forthcoming evening sale in Delhi.

Noted as a founder-member of the Progressive Artists’ Group, Raza’s growth as an artist has generated much interest among researchers and collectors in recent times. He began with expressionist landscapes, and eventually moved closer to non-representational works. Towards the latter half of his practice, he became synonymous with his Bindu series, painting them right up until his death in 2016.

Spanning this dynamic graph, Saffronart is offering selections from nearly every phase of Raza’s practice. Lots include his early watercolours, such as In A Forest, as well as his later Bindu works.

One of the highlights is Raza’s Village En Provence (1957)—a panoramic view of the south of France, celebrating its land and sky, and estimated at 2.75-3.75 crore. In another untitled landscape, capturing the emotions evoked by the climes of India and France, both of which he considered home, Raza moves even closer to abstraction.

The sale’s cover lot, however, is an untitled oil on canvas painted by top-selling modernist V.S. Gaitonde in 1975, estimated at 15-20 crore. Dinesh Vazirani, CEO of Saffronart, says, “Gaitonde and Raza’s personalities were so different from each other, and this is reflected in their art. But all the modernists were unified by their continuing search for identity and self-expression."

Saffronart’s annual Evening Sale will take place at The Oberoi, Zakir Hussain Marg, Delhi on 20 September at 7.30pm.

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