Sayed Haider Raza (Indian, b.1922) is considered one of the most prominent Indian painters of his generation. Born in Babaria, India, Raza studied art from an early age, before moving to France in 1950 to study at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After studying in Paris, Raza continued to travel throughout Europe, exhibiting his work. Raza was a co-founder of the revolutionary Bombay Progressive Artists' Group (PAG), along with Indian artists Krishna Hawlaji Ara (1914–1985) and Francis Newton Souza (1924–2002). This movement sought to turn away from the influences of European Realism—which dominated much of the academic art of India—and embrace Antar gyan , a uniquly-Indian inner vision. His early works include landscapes, and later moved towards abstraction as he became increasingly influenced by Modernist principles. 1970 was a turning point in Raza’s career, when he developed the concept of Bindu (a personal rebirth) in his art. The works from this period are more intricately linked to Indian roots and cultural themes, and were influenced by his trips back to India. Raza is a founder of the Raza Foundation in India, which gives away the Annual Raza Foundation Award to emerging artists. In 2010, Christie’s sold his work Saurashtra for US$3.4 million, a record-breaking price for a living Indian artist. His work has been exhibited at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, and is part of many international collections.

Timeline

Born in 1922 in Babaria, Madhya Pradesh, Raza moved to Mumbai where he graduated form the Sir J.J. School of Art in 1943 and went on to be one of the founding members of the Progressive Artists' Group in 1947. After receiving a French Government Scholarship in 1950 he left for Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Raza was awarded the Prix de la Critique in Paris, in 1956. In 1962 he was a visiting lecturer at the University of California in Berkeley, USA.
The Madhya Pradesh State Government invited Raza for a major exhibition of his works in 1978 and also awarded him with the Kalidas Samman in 1996-97. The Government of India awarded him with the Padma Shri in 1981, one of the highest civilian honors, and he was elected as a Fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi in 1983.
Raza has exhibited in several exhibitions as well as biennials and triennials: Venice-1956; Menton-1964, 66, 68, 72, 76; Rabat, Morocco-1963; Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal, India-1986; Havana, Cuba-1987; Les Arts en France et le Monde, Musee d'art Moderne, Paris-1957; Gallerie Lara Vincy, Paris-1957 - 1969; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, 'Indian Contemporary Painters', Renwich, Washington D.C.-1973; 'India: Myth and Reality-Aspects of Modern Indian Art', Museum of Modern Art, Oxford-1982; 'Artistes Indiens en France', Foundation Nationale Des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques,Paris-1985; 'Coups de Coeur', Geneva-1987; The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea-1988; 'Retrospective 1952 - 91', Palais Carnoles, Musee de Menton, Paris-1991; 'The Search Within', an Austro-Indian traveling exhibition, Pernegg Monastery, Geras and Bildungshaus St.Virgil, Salzburg, Austria, National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi and Mumbai, India-1998-99; Saffronart and Pundole Art Gallery, New York – 2001, 02.
Raza lives and works in Paris and in Gorbio, France.

Exhibitions

2010
Galerie Flora Jansem, Raza Ceramiques, Paris, France (solo)
2010
Peintures récentes, Galerie Patrice Trigano, Paris, France (solo)
1997
Roopankar Museum of Fine Arts, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, India (solo)
1997
National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India (solo)
1994
L'Artothèque d'Entreprise, Group Michel Ferrier, Échirolles, Grenoble, France (solo)
1992
Jehangir Nicholson Museum, National Centre for Performing Arts, Bombay, India (solo)
1992
Parcours des Arts, Lalouvesc, France (solo)
1991
Galerie Eterso, Cannes; Retrospective: 1952-91, Palais Carnoles Musée de Menton, France (solo)
1990
Gallery Chemould, Bombay, India (solo)