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Born: 1922 in Babaria (MP).
Syed Haider Raza studied painting in the Nagpur School of Art and the J. J. School of Art, Bombay. A founder member of the Progressive Artists Group, he presented several exhibitions of his paintings in India before leaving for France on a French government scholarship in 1950. He studied painting at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1950 to 1953.
Raza was awarded the Prix de la Critique in Paris, in 1956. He has had numerous individual exhibitions of his paintings and has participated in group shows and salons, including the International Biennales at Venice, Sao Paolo and Menton, and in the Triennale at New Delhi. In 1959 he married the French artist Janine Mongillat. Three years later, in 1962, he visited the University of California at Berkeley as a visiting lecturer in the art department. He revisited India several times between 1959 and 1985. Since then he has visited India every year to establish a tangible relationship with Indian concepts, contemporary art and life.
In December 1978, the government of Madhya Pradesh invited him to his native state for a homage and an exhibition of his works in Bhopal. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India in 1981, and was elected a Fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, in 1983. Since then he has received the Kalidas Samman from the government of Madhya Pradesh and a retrospective of his paintings has been presented at the Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal.
Raza lives and works in Paris and Gorbio, in Southern France.