Abdur Rahman Chughtai
Pakistani, 1894-1975

Abdur Rahman Chughtai was one of the earliest art icons of Pakistan, and became the first official national artist after the country gained independence in 1947. Chughtai, who descended from generations of craftsmen and decorators, had the uncommon opportunity to study at a British-founded art school in Lahore. As a result, his hallmark style was a composite of diverse influences, which included Mughal art, Islamic calligraphy, miniaturist painting, and Art Nouveau. His style was characterized by a reduction of forms into luminous planes of color, simple compositions, and delicate draftsmanship. His favorite subjects were portraits or illustrations modeled after heroes and heroines from Islamic history, legends, folktales, and Mughal royalty. Chughtai also wrote fiction and criticism, and designed stamps, coins, insignia, and book covers.

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