Lot 41
  • 41

MAQBOOL FIDA HUSAIN | Untitled (Farmer and Bullock)

1,200,000 - 1,500,000 INR
bidding is closed


  • Maqbool Fida Husain
  • Untitled (Farmer and Bullock)
  • Oil on wood
  • 9 x 18 in. (22.8 x 45.7 cm.)
  • Executed circa 1940s

Catalogue Note

Maqbool Fida Husain's early body of works depict India and its population in a localised context. Starting in the 1940s, he first worked as a commercial billboard artist and then as an illustrator, and as a toy maker at the Fantasy Furniture Shop, Bombay until he quit his job in 1947. Writing about Husain’s toys, R. Chatterjee has stated that Husain’s toys were much more than mere playthings; he describes them as being ‘neither ephemeral nor piquant in appeal’ but possessing a ‘monumental quality’ that is derived from their formal beauty and decorative charm. (N. Berlia, 'Maqbool Fida Husain: Renaissance Artist', Continuum: Progressive Artists’ Group, ed. K. Singh, DAG, New Delhi, 2011, p. 71) This toy from the earliest days of Husain’s career exemplifies his unstoppable creative output even in the midst of his struggle to establish himself as a full-time artist in the initial post-colonial years. Husain’s toys are said to have had a strong influence on his paintings. “My paintings, drawings and the recent paper work has been directly influenced by my experience of traditional Indian dolls, paper toys – shapes galore. The experience of being with them and the inspiration to create them are inseparable.” (A. S. Peerbhoy, Paintings of Husain, Thacker & Company Limited, Bombay, 1955, introductory essay).

The present lot, painted in bright colours depicts a farmer with his bullock and is an important example from this influential body of work, and although two-dimensional, one can observe movement which is characteristic of Husain’s figures. His toys are precursors to Husain’s early paintings that revolved around peasant themes such as Marathi Women (1950), Mother and Child (1951) and Farmer (1953) which were rooted in social realism. Says Alkazi about Husain’s figures, 'There is an exalted dignity about the people who inhabit Husain’s canvases. Peasants, workers, craftsmen, women toiling in fields or huddled together in conversation all have self-contained poise, the stoic patience and grace associated with the common people. He captures their postures and lineaments their distinctive ethos and culture … not by physiognomy or costume alone are they differentiated, but by their total bearing and presence.' (Alkazi, M. F. Husain: The Modern Artist and Tradition, New Delhi, 1978, p. 22).