Lot 48
  • 48

Maqbool Fida Husain (1915-2011)

180,000 - 220,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Maqbool Fida Husain
  • Rani
  • Signed in Devanagari upper right and further signed, dated and inscribed 'Husain/ 1967/ S. No. 6/ "Rani"/ 40" x 30"' on reverse
  • Oil on canvas
  • 40 by 30 in. (101.6 by 76.2 cm)
  • Painted in 1962


Acquired from a Private Mumbai Collector


K. Singh ed., The Naked and the Nude, The Body in Indian Modern Art, New Delhi, Delhi Art Gallery, 2013, p. 297
K. Singh ed., Manifestations IX, 75 Artists: 20th Century Indian Art, New Delhi, Delhi Art Gallery, 2013, p. 56

Catalogue Note

The depiction of women is one of the most prevalent subjects in Maqbool Fida Husain’s oeuvre. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Husain did not imbue his paintings with overt sexuality. Instead his women are sublime and subtly passionate. Affected by the loss of his mother at an early age, Husain’s portrayals of women often contain a mixture of tenderness, nostalgia and reverence.

This work titled Rani, portrays two women bathing in shallow water. The painting is cleverly composed so that the water frames the bottom of the painting and a mere outline of a boat recedes in the background so that the viewer’s attention is drawn to the two central figures so that they appear almost as icons. The women are caught in a private moment, yet their movements are graceful and reminiscent of traditional Indian dance. Husain was inspired by classical Indian art in all its various forms.  Husain’s purpose was to represent the spirit and ethos of these arts in a visual medium. In addition, vivid lines and the application of paint with a palette knife add an element of dynamism to this work.  Dr. Daniel Herwitz explains: “The central concern of Husain’s art, and its dominant motif, is woman … Strong angular lines and flatly applied patches of color are the instrument of the female form. Woman is seen either as a creation of lyric poetry, a sculpturesque and rhythmic figure of dance, or as an agent of fecundity.” (D. Herwitz, Husain, Delhi, 1988, p. 46)