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).
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