Lot 133
  • 133

Maqbool Fida Husain

250,000 - 350,000 USD
250,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Maqbool Fida Husain
  • Untitled (Farmer's Family)
  • Signed 'Husain' upper right 
  • Acrylic on canvas 


Acquired in November 2005 from the Great Banyan Auction Company, New Delhi 


New Delhi, Vadehra Art Gallery, Concept & Form, 10 February - 10 March 2004


Concept & Form, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2004, illustration p. 13

Catalogue Note

Much has been written about Maqbool Fida Husain’s early works and the evolution of his art. In the 1950s he focused on aspects of the rural and this decade was known for his ‘folk’ paintings. In the 1960s, he pondered more on the human condition and his works became more emotive. After that, he adopted scenes and characters from Indian mythology and famous ancient texts such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. In the 1980s his main preoccupations were with film, cinema and Mother Teresa. His different series would ebb and flow depending on what captured his imagination and interest. Later in his career his began to re-visit subjects from his past but with a completely new style and treatment. These two paintings are prime examples of Husain’s late work.
Smaller and more detailed compositions gave way to monumental and imposing canvases, brightly colored due to his new penchant for acrylic paints which were fast drying and aided the speed with which he worked. Hearkening back to his days as a billboard painter for Bollywood films in the early 1940's, Husain has perpetually revisited the cinematic arts. ‘In his later years Husain has turned increasingly towards cinematic images. These have been either in the form of cinema itself or in large, looping figurative paintings which echo the earlier billboard. In many ways for Husain cinema approximates reality more than paintings in its ability to catch myriad aspects of a complex, multi-woven shifting frame. Thus his images have turned once again to the billboard and the life on the streets over which it looms, reflecting the ordinary person’s fantasies and aspirations.’ (Y. Dalmia, ‘M.F. Husain: Re-inventing India’, M. F. Husain: Early Masterpieces 1950s – 1970s, AMart India Pvt. Ltd., London, 2006, unpaginated)
Lot 133, Untitled (Farmer’s Family) is an ode to his early opuses from the 1950s. Indian villages and the simple life of the peasants are resurrected in a different style. His figures are still constructed with flat planes of color, but the color itself is bright and vibrant. Thin black lines delineate the various subjects and objects, producing more detail than ever before. The postures and poses remain fluid and composed like the temple dancers and ancient sculptures that had captured his imagination in years past. 
Lot 134, Untitled (Lady and the Tiger) is another revivified subject that Husain has been painting since the 1960s. Inspired by Indian folklore, Husain has repeatedly depicted versions of the Goddess Durga, usually shown astride a tiger. This painting can also be construed as a strong interpretation of this famous trope in his oeuvre.