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100 YEARS OF MAQBOOL FIDA HUSAIN
"Of few artists can it be said with as much confidence as of Husain that painting is an integral part of their being, natural as the act of breathing and essential to their existence. It is as simple and fundamental as that. It is not second nature with him, nor is it mere talent or accomplishment. It is the very element which keeps him alive and determines the course of his actions. His works are not creations, aesthetic 'works of art' outside and independent of himself, but stages in a process of development and growth. They are not mirrors of his thoughts, moods, and feelings; they are the very thoughts, moods and feelings themselves." (E. Alkazi, M.F. Husain, Art Heritage, New Delhi, 1978, p. 3)
Maqbool Fida Husain embodied the modern Indian art movement in a singular way, with seemingly boundless artistic vigor and vision. With independence in 1947, he embarked on redefining and establishing a new expression for Indian art, one of its own making, hand in hand with the artistic fraternity of his generation, F.N. Souza, S.H. Raza, Ram Kumar and Tyeb Mehta among them.
In honour of the centenary year of his birth, we embarked on locating and securing some extremely important masterpieces that show the depth and breadth of his talent. It is a rare event and good fortune to have these works available and a marvelous opportunity for collectors and curators alike to add to the story of art for themselves. This is the perfect time to reflect on the timeless legacy of M.F. Husain.
Historians of Indian art have written extensively on Husain. They praise and reflect upon his intuitive sensitivity, imagination, curiosity, his love of adventure and his larger than life personality. Above all, Husain had the remarkable ability to relate to and express the most basic and complex of human emotions. Deeply conscious of the world around him, he created a highly unique idiom derived from the roots of Indian civilization. Inspired by his travels throughout India and his love of the Indian landscape (as seen in lot 16 and 54), his study of classical Indian painting and sculpture (as seen in lots 14, 15 and 54), his fascination with mythology and folklore (as seen in lot 9 and 17) and with the personal symbols adopted from the memories of his childhood (as seen in lot 13), Husain created a body of work that is quintessentially Indian but at the same time universal and timeless.
Husain was a people's artist. He has said, "How can I go abstract when there are 600 million people around me in India? It is impossible for me to ignore the multitudes around me. How can I do that as an artist?" (As quoted in, Y. Dalmia, MF Husain: A Tribute, New Delhi, 2012, p. 11)
"Much has been written about Husain's remarkable presence: about his pranks, his wit, his barefooted simplicity, his casual relationship with time and appointments, his ceaseless travel; and about his intoxication with the cities, streets, and people of this world to the point where it seems nothing human is foreign to him. Much has also been written about how he is able to turn everything from cars to canvases into a prodigious output of works, of artworks of joyous colors, fantastic horses and playful sensuality. This persona is part of what makes his art wonderful. But amidst the wonder of his work is also an achievement of intelligence and depth, one whose significance for our time cannot be overstressed, yet one which remains all too under-explored." (D. Herwitz, Husain, Tata Press, Mumbai, 1988, p. 15)