Maqbool Fida Husain (b. 1915)
- Maqbool Fida Husain
- Oil on canvas
- 32 3/4 by 18 3/4 in. (83.2 by 48 cm.)
Husain was different from his contemporaries F.N. Souza and S.H. Raza in choosing to remain in India. Even so he traveled widely in the subcontinent from the Himalayas to Kerala to experience the landscape and various cultures of India first-hand. During his travels he was attracted to the varying landscapes of India, the different peoples he encountered and the stories and artistic traditions that they had inherited. 'He drew from the classical, the miniature and folk and attempted to meld it into a language which formulated the present. It allowed him to express a perceived reality which while being seamless, mythical and vast was at the same time hurling towards industrialization and modernization.' (Yashodhara Dalmia, "M. F. Husain: Reinventing India," introductory essay to M. F. Husain, Early Masterpieces 1950s - 70s, Asia House, London, 2006).
The current lot is clearly influenced by the Indian Rajput miniature tradition, in particular the group of works known as Ragamalas, visual interpretations of musical modes, that are themselves linked to the seasons. Peacocks are a common symbol in the miniature tradition usually associated with the onset of the monsoon. Here Husain reinterprets the Rajput tradition to create a modern version of the series that is reworked in several paintings from the same period including Holi, 1961 and Rajput Wedding, 1963.
‘Behind every stroke of the artist's brush is a vast hinterland of traditional concepts, forms, meanings. His vision is never uniquely his own; it is a new perspective given to the collective experience of his race. It is in this fundamental sense that we speak of Husain being in the authentic tradition of Indian Art. He has been unique in his ability to forge a pictorial language, which is indisputably of the contemporary Indian situation but surcharged with all the energies, the rhythms of his art heritage.’ (E. Alkazi, M. F. Husain, The Modern Artist and Tradition, New Delhi, p. 3).