Syed Haider Raza, Alias S.H. Raza was born on February 22, 1922, and died on July 23, 2016.
He was an Indian artist who has lived and worked in France since 1950 but maintains strong ties with India.
Raza’s works are mainly abstracts in oil or acrylic, with a very rich use of color, replete with icons from Indian cosmology as well as its philosophy.
S. H. Raza was awarded the Padma Shri and Fellowship of the Lalit Kala Akademi in 1981, Padma Bhushan in 2007, and Padma Vibhushan in 2013.
S. H. Raza was conferred with the highest French civilian honour, the Commandeur de la Legion d’honneur (Legion of Honour) on July 14, 2015.
Raza became one of India’s priciest modern artist on June 10, 2010, when a seminal work, Saurashtra by the 88-year-old was sold for ₹16.42 crore ($3,486,965) at a Christie’s auction.
He had his first solo show in 1946 at Bombay Art Society Salon and was awarded the Silver Medal of the society.
S. H. Raza work expanded from painting expressionistic landscapes to abstract ones.
He worked on his fluent water colours of landscapes and townscapes executed in the early 40’s, he moved toward a more expressive language, painting landscapes of the mind.
He had left the expressionistic landscape for a geometric abstraction and the ‘Bindu’.
He took the Bindu as the center of creation and existence progressing towards forms and color as well as energy, sound, space and time.
Raza work took another leap in 2000, when he began to express his increasingly deepened insights and thoughts on Indian spiritual, and created works around the Kundalini, Nagas and the Mahabharat.
He founded the ‘Raza Foundation’ in India for the promotion of art among Indian youth, which also gives away Annual Raza Foundation Award, to young artists in India.
Janine Mongillat was his wife, his fellow student at Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris and later became a well-known artist and sculptor.
During 1959, they married , and at the request of her mother not to leave France, Raza chose to remain.
S. H. Raza passed away at 94 years old.