Sayed Haider Raza
One of the most prominent painters of his generation, S.H. Raza changed the course of modernism in India. After an early stint in Bombay, where he was a founding member of the Progressive Artists’ Group, he moved to France, where he spent the next sixty years. This volume explores Raza’s artistic trajectory from the time of his arrival in Paris, as well as his contribution to the development of modernism in the Indian subcontinent. Beginning with early works developed in India before 1947, the essays in this volume analyze Raza’s later abstraction processes and landscapes. His strong thrust towards non-figurative art, and subsequent influences from European and American modernism, combined with Raza’s own memories and impressions of India and led him to a skilful negotiation between Indian spirituality and Western abstraction. Raza’s bold, failed experiment with the French Cubist style is also explored here, leading to the crucial moment when he decided he had to unlearn everything he knew. In addition to the essays, an anthology of previously unpublished letters offer glimpses of the master at work, and a detailed chrono-biography situates him within the transcultural dynamics of the 1950s to the 1980s.