Auction - S.H. Raza's Carcassonne coming up at Saffronart

Saffronart, the indian fine-art auction house, will showcase an important selection of works by modern masters and contemporary artists Jun 15-16.
With a total of 65 lots, the auction includes a wide variety of paintings, sculptures and installations by leading artists including S.H. Raza, Tyeb Mehta, Jogen Chowdhury, Manjit Bawa, G. Ravinder Reddy, Bharti Kher and Jitish Kallat.

Among the highlights of this sale is S.H. Raza’s 1951 painting titled ‘ Carcassonne ’. On his move to France in the early 1950s, Raza began experimenting with orchestration in his drawings and paintings using as elements of construction the houses and churches of rural France . Although inspired by the French countryside, these new landscapes were devoid of human presence and did not indicate any particular time or place. One of the citadels he visited on his travels was Carcassonne, afortified French town in the southern region of Languedoc-Roussillon. Here, Raza offers a tightly composed landscape seen over a long, dark roof in the foreground, and flattened against the calm, gray-blue sky beyond it. This compact townscape offers a view of both, the turrets and barbicans of Carcassonne’s upper fortress, as well as of the surrounding houses of the lower city, known as ville basse, highlighting the hierarchal, feudal construction of the town.

While Raza’s early watercolour landscapes, executed in the 1940s, had a fluid feel and betrayed the influence of artists like Oskar Kokoschka, paintings like Carcassonne display a very different handling of composition and structure, as well as a change of medium. This change was largely influenced by a 1948 meeting with Henri Cartier-Bresson, the famous French photographer who was in India at the time, and who admired Raza’s work but commented on its lack of formal structure.