Abdur Rahman Chughtai, ‘Untitled’, Christie's South Asian + Chinese

Abdur Rahman Chughtai is regarded as the first major modern Muslim artist of South Asia. What distinguishes Chughtai from his peers is his unmistakeable and consistent reference to the tradition of Mughal painting.

Throughout his five decade career Chugtai rediscovered Mughal and Persian paintings, calligraphy, architecture and ornamentation and reinterpreted these aesthetics into his paintings and etchings. Rather than 'keeping in tradition', Chughtai's work is in 'continuity with tradition', thereby transcending himself from the role of artisan to that of a modern artist.

His most desirable works portray images of refined noblemen and women in grand, idyllic settings, as seen in lot 34 and 50. His compositions with their bold flowing lines are set against exquisite color harmonies. Chughtai's etchings (lots 32-33 and 49) further reveal his exceptional draughtsmanship and poetic interpretation of the past.

Signature: signed in Urdu (upper left)

Image rights: [Christie's](http://www.christies.com/sales/south-asian-modern-contemporary-art-march-2013/)


Formerly from the Collection of Nawab Moin ud-Daula Bahadur (1891-1944), son of Nawab Sir Asman Jah Bahadur, one of the three great Paigah nobles of Hyderabad

Later acquired by the Bhagwandas family, jewelers to the Nizam of Hyderabad

Thence by descent

About Abdur Rahman Chughtai

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.

Pakistani, 1894-1975, Lahore, Pakistan