Legendary France-based Indian modern artist, Sayed Haider Raza, 94, died on Saturday following a prolonged illness. He had been under treatment in the Intensive Care Unit of a private hospital in Delhi for the past two months, as he was suffering from old-age related ailments.
“Raza passed away at 11:AM,” said the poet Ashok Vajpeyi, who was a close friend of the artist to Press Trust Of India.
His innovative use of colors and oil paints made him popular among international painters. His works had deeper meaning and often involved elements of Indian Philosophy or Cosmology.
S.H.Raza was born on 22 February 1922 to a Middle class family in Madhya Pradesh. In 1946, he won the silver medal of Bombay art Society. In 1950 he was given an opportunity to study in France and was sponsored by the French Government. After having studied at the institution of École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, he spent his professional life in France and returned to India after his semi retirement.
‘Saurashtra’ is Raza’s most notable painting regarding India. This made him one of India’s notable modern artist. ‘Saurashtra’, which depicted beauty of the Eastern belt of Gujarat was sold for a whopping ₹16.42 crore ($3,486,965) at an auction.
In India, he founded the ‘Raza Foundation’ to promote the art among Indian youth, that Annually gives away Raza Foundation Award to young artists in India. S. H. Raza married Janine Mongillat in 1959, his fellow student at Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris. At the request of his wife’s mother he decided not to leave France.
S.H.Raza had once said that his work is his own inner experience and the involvement with the mysteries of nature and which is expressed in color, line, space and light. In July 2015, he was awarded with the highest civilian honour of France – Commandeur de la Legion d’honneur. Raza was honored with the Padma Shri and was also an elected member of the Lalitha Kala Academy in 1983.
According to his wishes, his last rites will be conducted in Mandala in Madhya Pradesh.