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'Seranade' Vintage 1940s Original Chughtai Hand Signed Collotype Limited Edition 200
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It had the prominent position over the fireplace mantle.

"SERANADE" or "FOR A SONG" by Abdur Rehman Chughtai

This is a lovely delicately detailed & hand signed collotype purchased in 1944 by Grandmother whe she had the family home redone. I have contacted the artist's son ARIF RAHMAN CHUGHTAI. In a very gracious reply he has verified that this is from one of two paintings which the artist got COLLOTYPES done from MAX JAFFE VIENNA AUSTRIA around 1936. The edition was only about 200 prints each. Please find below the text of our conversations plus quotes and links to information about this wonderful artist, 1889-1975. Size: 26" x 32". Gold gilt framed with protective glass. Excellent condition. Slight discoloration on frame bottom ledge and a speck of loose dust under the glass. The back is completely sealed so I did not want to disturb it to try to remove the loose dust particle.

I wrote:

Dear Mr. Arif Rahman Chughtai,

I have what I believe to be a lovely hand signed lithograph by your father, M A Rahman Chughtai. In researching the web I have not been able to verify this particular piece titled "For a Song". Also the signature appears to be in English and a Pakistani art collector tells me that they were usually signed by him in Urdu.

This piece has been in our family for over 60 years having been bought by my Mother in 1944. Beautifully framed in gold gilt it measures 26" x 32". I have attached 3 images. I would be most appreciative of any information you could provide.

Thanking you in advance for your help,

On Saturday, November 4, 2006, at 02:43 AM, Arif Chughtai wrote:

This is a quick reply. Do not believe vhat others may tell you. Mostly information from others is not authentic. I know the set very well. These were two COLLOTYPES wich the artist got done from MAX JAFFE VIENNA AUSTRIA around 1936. At that time the edition was only about 200 prints each. One was DESERT IN BLOOM the other was SERENADE or FOR A SONG as you may like to name it. An unauthorized printing was also done later by someone and the works clandestinely sold in London. Your English signed edition is the correct one. The Urdu signs are the ones on the painting itself in red and you can check it out. The value is ofcourse determined by market and by those who would like to buy it. Its rare and collectible. We sell lithos, etchings, even paintings, books etc but only to keep our museum activity alive. The permanent collection can not be touched. If you need any cooperation you only have to ask. Also if you give a landline address I wiuld be happy to send you an  assortment of printed matter free of cost. I would ofcourse like to know more about your mother, a Chughtai fan in 1944 and ofcourse about you. Consider us as friends and do not hesitate to ask any favour. We would love to help you. I have kept this project alive for 32 years after the death of my father on 17th January 1975. I hope to continue and I consider it a privilieage to pick up friends on the way. It makes life worth living. Love and regards from Pakistan ARIF RAHMAN CHUGHTAI

I wrote:

Thank you so very much Arif, for your very kind and informative reply. I have enclosed a picture taken in the house I grew up in showing the lower portion of your father's collotype. It had the premiere place above the fireplace mantel. This was Chrismas 1947 with me, my Mother and brother.

I have treasured this lovely work ever since my Mother's passing in 1979, however I am now considering it's sale. The information you have provided is invaluable to me as I now know what I am selling.

I admire your efforts in preserving your father's work and wish you great success with the museum to which you have such great devotion.

Warm regards,

On Wed, 8 Nov 2006 10:10:31 +0000 (GMT), Arif Chughtai wrote:

It was a thrill looking at the old photograph. I printed it immediately. You are the type of American family, a person like me can recognize. Friendly, decent, upright, open to the world, loving diversity, with no malice in heart. Today the media projects an aggressive American and others feel fear about perceived threats. Keep it up. Good values come in handy all the tine and promote interfaith harmony. I will think more on your lines and anyway I may be of help. Love and regards from us and Pakistan ARIF RAHMAN CHUGHTAI

definition of collotype:

The first commercial collotypes were produced in 1868 in Germany by Josef Albert and in 1869 in England by Ernst Edwards. Until the development of the half-tone screen it was the only photomechanical process, besides hand photogravure, capable of reproducing tone.

Collotype is the most accurate and beautiful method of photomechanical reproduction yet invented. It has the advantage that it can render continuous graduations of tone without the intervention of a screen. But the making and printing of collotype plates is skilled and expensive work and can easily go wrong. Variations in humidity are likely to upset the balance of moisture in the gelatin causing it to swell or shrink. The surface is too delicate to produce more than two thousand impressions. For these reasons, collotype has been used for luxury publications and, since World War II, has been largely abandoned for other commercial purposes. Collotype is a photographic process in which a film of gelatin provides the printing surface. The technique is dependent on the fact that light sensitized gelatin hardens in proportion to the amount of light to which it is exposed.


Quotes from:

Chughtai: A Pakistani Scholar-Artist
by Rashda Faridi

Abdur Rehman Chughtai was born on September 21, 1889 at Mohalla Chabuk Sawaran, in the old city of Lahore. He started his education at Chimney-Wali mosque and then went on to study art in Lahore and abroad. He achieved much fame and acclaim during his lifetime. He died at his birthplace in Lahore on January 17, 1975.

Chughtai was a great scholar-artist steeped in Mughal traditions and at the same time reached out curiously towards the sources of Western inspiration. Chughtai may be viewed as a sensitive mediator between the past and the present. One can see Mughal architecture displayed in his works: arches and splendid courtyards skillfully decorated with geometric and floral designs. He was the master of the delicate art of “naqqashi.” In his figures are smooth movements and controlled gestures to half-closed oriental eyes, beautiful long fingers, and slender figures wearing royal dresses.

Chughtai grew up during the time of British cultural and political domination. He was able to recreate personages of arid atmosphere that reflected the refinement and grandeur of Mughal India. The miniature format was done away with and a whole cosmos of elegant and sublime figures were created, narrating implicit episodes. One of his paintings, “Jehangir and Nur Jehan,” shows not only elevated figures in marvelous costumes, composed in carefully balanced soothing harmonies; but also Chughtai’s great gifts in creating soft and mellow colorist compositions which reflect the politeness and cultural distinctions of the figures portrayed. Chughtai said, that he wanted to create a “classical” art in his homeland. He was the lover of the earth tones. Mellow oriental colors were laid down in broad decorative washes. He commented in his book: “The Lahore School of Painting”, that his paintings are related to his ancestors and also to the historic Islamic, Iranian and Mughal traditions.

Sotheby’s of London and New York recently sold many of his paintings this last year alone. Chughtai’s paintings are highly desirable today in the artworld and is one of the most sought after artist. His painting of Radha and Krishna was sold in June of 1998 at Sotheby’s for $56,400 setting a new world record for Chughtai’s paintings. Pakistan has produced some great artists, but indeed Chughtai is “something else”, and his rarefied vision and universal appeal, merits as his son Arif Rehman Chughtai has been emphatically espousing for a number of years – the realization of the Chughtai Museum. The Museum trust already exists but is in need of more support.


Quotes :
Dear Ms Sangeeta:
Thanks for your information. The art world at present is allergic to Chughtai and fearful of Chughtai Museum. We are independent people who love our country and are very proud of our ideology. The present set up does not like the word ideology. Ever since my father died in 1975, the Culture people are trying to bankrupt us or move us out of existence. That is why M A Rahman Chughtai is deliberately neglected by the Govt of Pakistan. It is my efforts internationally which upsets them. The people here love Chughtai and he is the father of art in Pakistan. Alhamra was founded by my father, the insignia designed by him, the name given by him…we will talk more when we meet. You must see our establishment. You will love our efforts and you will love us. Best wishes ARIF RAHMAN CHUGHTAI

Artists in Pakistan seemed to be divided into camps for whatever reasons, like it is everywhere else. I decided to keep politics out of my conversation when I visited Arif on the second day of my trip to Lahore. The Chughtai Museum is in the middle of a rapidly expanding city. It has a large holding of land, many old trees and a museum complex that is still being built. Arif took us to his office, where he generously showed us many paintings by his father and I fell in love with the Chughtai paintings all over again. Chughtai was born in Lahore in 1897 and his paintings are an exquisite synthesis of Persian and Mughal styles. His love for women, beauty and nature are expressed with sensitive and sensuous lines and colours, his compositions are amazingly varied and reveal aremarkable eye for detail.

The Museum Trust in Lahore has over 10,000 works by Chughtai: watercolours, pencil drawings, aquatints and etchings, block prints, naqashis, calligraphy, stamp designs, coin designs, national and international insignias and illustrations. It was clear we were face to face with the works of a great master whose artistic career spanned 60 years.

There are Chughtais scattered in museums and collections all over the world.


Quotes from:

(15 October 2005)

Lady with a blue flower by Abdur Rahman Chugtai.
Bonhams latest sale of Indian and Islamic Art made a total of £2,042,908 - a result driven by hugely enthusiastic bidding for modern and contemporary Indian and Pakistani paintings.
Abdur Rahman Chughtai's, 'Guarded Beauty' £66,000 (estimate £40,000 to £60,000). Lot 247 was a world record price for Chughtai.


More of Chughtai's work can Ve viewed here:

Offers Considered, EMAIL • • • $2000

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Oh, thank you so much for the picture!  What a treat to be able to see it in the 40s!  I received it yesterday, and it fits perfectly, like a dream!  I’m going to wear it to a St. Valentine’s Day dinner at Wrigley Mansion this Saturday and I hope to get some pictures.  
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Buyer: cappycat (1920 Flapper Dress)

The thing's just beautiful - actually "beautiful" by itself is even an under-rated word to describe it. What surprises me is your selling it off - unless you have an even better one. And I really appreciate your effort in the communication and coordination, the immaculate packing and your note that you included as well.
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