Posted on: 3 October 2015

Hiraman Tota
By Abdur Rahman Chughtai (Pakistan, 1897-1975)
Watercolour on paper

Abdur Rahman Chughtai is remembered today as possibly the most distinguished Pakistani artist of the 20th century. His work draws from a shared South Asian cultural heritage, and he was one of the few Pakistani artists to be recognized in India before and after the 1947 partition.

Chughtai began his training at the Mayo School of Art in Lahore in 1911, where he was taught by Samarendranath Gupta, himself a pupil of Abanindranath Tagore. The influence of the Bengal School is visible in Chughtai's early work, but what distinguishes Chughtai is his exceptional skill as a draughtsman. Many of his paintings were large-format—exuberant, expansive works rendered in soft, meditative colors and bold, flowing lines. Even his smaller paintings and drawings seem somehow to contain the same freeness.

Chughtai’s work typically portrayed Hindu deities and famous personalities from Islamic and Hindu dynasties—Mughal and Rajuput princes. He depicted gods and courtesans with equal affection. In the mid-1940s, he became obsessed with the idea that he was directly descended from Ahmed Mimar Lahori, the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan's chief architect, believed to be the inspiration behind the Taj Mahal. As specific as the traditions are from which he drew his subject matter, his appeal has proven truly international. As Principal S. Kashmira Singh writes in the introduction to one of his monographs, “For his characteristic style, perfect technique and universal appeal he has been described as the artist of all Nations.”

Text credit: Bonhams
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Mohammed Abdur Rahman Chughtai


I looked at this and the first thing I thought was...she's checking her fb. :P

I am a great fan of Chugtai's work


Good one

Such beauty...

Mohammed Chughtai's paintings gives you soothing effect due to choose of beautiful colour combinations and shades !!


Beautiful art with pastel shades...very appealing! India and is a mingled culture! The artist did not discriminate on basis of religion....all were one and one were all...before partition!

Nice painting

Now I get your point!

Brilliant fusion of tradition & modernity reminiscent of the 19th Bengal School Movement started by Abanindranath Tagore who was inspired by Indologist like E.B. Havell Principal of the Calcutta Art College. The Bengal School was inspired by India's rich artistic heritage instead of looking to the West for inspiration. This beautiful ptg of Chugtai is an example of that. Partition of India by the British was one of histories biggest tragedy since both India & Pakistan share a common heritage.