Syed Haider Raza, ‘Untitled’, 1983, Christie's South Asian + Chinese

Executed in 1983, this token of love and friendship, fondly called "dé de fortune" is unique in Raza's oeuvre. It belongs to a key period in his career when after many years of working within the styles of the Ecole de Paris and Abstract Expressionism, his artistic path brought him full circle and he began to integrate vital elements of Indian spirituality. Raza's extensive travels throughout Gujarat and Rajasthan deeply influenced this mature body of work. Though his works from the 1980s are far from representational, the concept of nature remains pervasive and integral to their composition. Adopting a codified and symbolic language, Raza uses specific shapes and colors to represent different aspects of the natural world.

This work is an amalgamation of the evolving themes Raza embarked upon throughout his decades-long career and serves as a transitional bridge into his structured geometric works characteristic of his most recent body of painting. Located on one panel is the black bindu, the genesis of all creation, in its germinating stage, and on two other panels we have the bindu fully formed. Conjuring at once landscape and nature, gesture and expression, as well as geometry and spiritualism.

Signature: signed and dated 'Raza '83' (lower left of one panel)

Image rights: [Christie's](


Gift of the artist to the present owners in 1983

In 1982, during the early days of their love affair, Claude Mollard and Marie-Jose Saliou met Raza and his wife in Gorbio at a luncheon honoring Mollard for the many achievements and new initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Culture and Arts of France. Mr. Mollard, who at the time, was serving as the chargé de mission of the Ministry under Jack Lang, is one of the founders of Centre Pompidou and has written extensively on art and cultural theory. The two couples became instantaneous friends and in 1983 Raza presented this work as a housewarming gift to the couple for their first home together in Paris.

About Syed Haider Raza

Sayed Haider Raza is one of the most prominent and groundbreaking Indian painters of his generation. During his training in France, Raza experimented with a variety of Modernist styles through landscape painting—first inspired by Expressionism, and later by geometric abstraction. In 1970, Raza began to paint purely geometric forms, particularly the circle and the dot, which he likened to the idea of the bindu. Though his style changed drastically over the course of his career, Raza’s works were all united in their emphasis on color, and their references to memory and mood. Raza was also responsible for founding the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group (PAG) with Krishna Hawlaji Ara and Francis Newton Souza, with the purpose of turning away from the European realist styles taught in Indian art schools, and establishing a modernist vocabulary relevant to India.

Indian, 1922-2016, Madhya Pradesh, India, based in Paris, France

Solo Shows

Group Shows

Approaching Land
Dag Modern, 
New York,
Masterpieces of Indian Modern Art
Dag Modern, 
India Modern - Narratives from 20th Century Indian Art
View Artist's CV