Property of a Prominent Private collector


signed and dated 'Raza '97' (lower centre); signed, inscribed, titled and dated 'Raza 1997 100 x 100 cm "Surya" Acrylic on Canvas' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
39 x 39 in. (100 x 100 cm.)
Painted in 1997
Christie's New York, 16 September 2009, lot 540
Singapore, Alliance Française de Singapore, Raza - Celebrating 85 Years, 2007


"I have interpreted the universe in terms of five primary colours: black, white, red, blue and yellow. A total chromatic expression can be achieved by mixing primary colours with other secondary colours, such as greens, browns, and ochers. From there you can move to a great austerity of colours till you come to a supreme purity of form." - S.H. Raza

From the late 1970s, Syed Haider Raza's personal depiction of nature becomes progressively more abstract and geometric, with the artist returning to his Indian roots, where nature is conceived in terms of a male/female polarity. "The language of your painting changes when you start listening to silence. Within the silence of solitude, the inner landscape of the human mind moves into another pathway. I learnt to understand polarities-the co-existence of opposites that complement even as they exist. Life and death, man and woman, black and white-everything has a different rhythm. I realized how poetry can contain few words and say so much. Painting became the metaphor of life itself." (A. Vajpeyi, A Life in Art: RAZA, New Delhi, 2007, p. 345)
Raza's basic preoccupations became colour and formal values, his work and thought centering on the bindu, an iconic symbol in Indian art can be interpreted as the symbol for seed, zero, drop, or sperm, and the genesis of creation. Adopting a codified and symbolic language, the artist uses shapes and colours to represent different aspects of the natural world. His sense of nature developed in geometric phases and included the primordial elements of earth, water and fire. In Surya, Raza presents an arrangement of shapes and earthly colours which evolve from dark to light, following the natural sequence of night into day. Here he utilises vibrant red, electric blue, black, ochres and white while maintaining harmony in the use of simple geometry and pure colour. According to art historian Geeti Sen, "Geometrical forms are used to map the universe. Here, the vocabulary of pure plastic form acquires an integral purpose: to relate the shape and rhythm of these forms to Nature." (G. Sen, Bindu: Space and Time in Raza's Vision, New Delhi, 1997, p.118)

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