Untitled (Three Heads)

Untitled (Three Heads)
signed in Hindi and Urdu (upper left)
oil on canvas
47 3/8 x 24 in. (119.4 x 61 cm.)
Formerly from a Private Maryland Collection
Sotheby's New York, 22 March 2007, lot 38
Manifestations VII, Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2012, Modern Indian Art, exhibition catalogue, Ithaca, 2006, figure 2 (illustrated)
Ithaca, Cornell University Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Modern Indian Art, April - June, 2006

Lot Essay

MF Husain was deeply inspired by village life which he idealized as being close to the essence of Indian sensibility. His humanity shines through in his dignified portraits.

"Husain's men and women, outwardly simple and unsophisticated, are highly conscious beings. They are conscious of being channels through which life runs its course. Very often they are caught listening and intent upon that flood within them, tense because of what they hear, with eyes of solemn curiosity and a mantle of silence around them. Even in groups, sitting or standing together, these men and women are supremely solitary. They do not communicate with each other. They remain locked in a binding compassion, in a unity of colour and composition divided by a wonderously understanding line." (S. S. Kapur, Husain, Lalit Kala Akedemi, New Delhi 1961, p. v)

Contemplative and self-absorbed, the protagonists in Untitled (Three Heads), deliberately avoid the gaze, monumental in their silence. Their proud carriage and indomitable spirits are charged with the powerful symbolism of vermilion powder and the hand gesture reminiscent of a classical musician. The predominately blue palette conveys strength and solidarity. "Husain does not only represent life, he annotates it, and the postulate of that annotation is the utter marvel of it all." (S. S. Kapur, Husain, Lalit Kala Akedemi, New Delhi 1961, p. v)

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