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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, MCLEAN, VIRGINIA

Maqbool Fida Husain
UNTITLED (ELEPHANTS IN BLUE)
Estimate
120,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 225,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
40

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, MCLEAN, VIRGINIA

Maqbool Fida Husain
UNTITLED (ELEPHANTS IN BLUE)
Estimate
120,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 225,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art

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New York

Maqbool Fida Husain
1913 - 2011
UNTITLED (ELEPHANTS IN BLUE)
Signed in Devanagari lower left 
Oil on board
31 ⅞ x 48 in. (80.9 x 121.9 cm.)
Painted circa 1960s
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Provenance

Acquired from Kumar Gallery, New Delhi on 5 July 1967 

Catalogue Note

This charming painting is from a series of works that Maqbool Fida Husain produced in the 1950s and 60s, where he placed an importance on nature and in particular the depiction of the rural idyll. This was driven by a post-Independence concern with finding a new national identity. The virtues and values of the rural working man were regarded as the backbone of the new independent nation. 'Most artists have been attracted at one time or other to the charm and colour of the Indian countryside and drawn inspiration from it. Few have brought to it the poetic lyricism which Husain has.' (E. Alkazi, M.F. Husain: The Modern Artist & Tradition, Art Heritage, New Delhi, 1978, pp.13-14).

Elephants appear in a number of Husain’s works from this period and this is in part derived from his interest in the classical arts, namely sculpture and its depiction of the elephant god, Ganesha. Elephants have had a long association with India, as symbols of strength, nobility and grace. They symbolize an ancient rural India that has been lost to deforestation, urbanization and globalization. Inspired by the people and animals that populated the walls of the temples at Khajuraho and other cities, Husain created a few works replete with women, men and a variety of animals. 

In the present work Husain has used heavy impasto and thick gestural brushstrokes to emphasize the elephants and surrounding figures. He also uses color to divide the picture plane into areas of light and dark, less for the sake of achieving a chiaroscuro effect than to powerfully draw attention to the figures and elephants. Through the careful use of pigments, Husain leaves the protagonists expressionless, casting them as ciphers for human emotion rather than connecting them to any event or subject. 'His figures suddenly became anonymous. They existed on the picture plane without any specific locale or identity. They possessed a static poise, a slow languorous deliberateness.' (G. Kapur, Husain, Vakil & Sons Private Ltd., Bombay, p. 4)

Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art

|
New York