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MAQBOOL FIDA HUSAIN Indian 1913-2011 OOC Horses

Oil on canvas, framed. Featuring five galloping horses with an eclipse in the background. Signed and attr. Maqbol Fida Husain (Indian, 1913-2011) on the lower right corner. 69.9 x 50.17 cm (27.5 x 19.8 inches). M.F. Husain was an Indian painter best known for his brightly colored works depicting horses, urban landscapes, the Bollywood star Madhuri Dixit, and nude Hindu goddesses. Employing a style based in Cubism, his irreverent subject matter pushed the limits of censorship in India. “I think you don't do work for controversy alone, and whenever you do new work which people don't understand and they say it is done to create controversy,†he once said. Born Maqbool Fida Husain on September 17, 1915 in Pandharpuer, India, to a secular Muslim family, he studied calligraphy before moving to Mumbai where he worked painting cinema posters and designing toys. In 1953, Husain went to Europe for the first time where he saw the works of Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, and Henri Matisse. Husain was forced to go into exile in 2006, due to the several lawsuits filed against him by the Indian government for his defamation of Hindu culture. For the remainder of his life he spent much of his time between Qatar and the United Kingdom. Husain died on June 9, 2011 in London, United Kingdom. Today, his works are in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai, and the National Museum of Islamic Art in Doha among others. PROVENANCE: Private estate (Toronto, ON)

  • CANCanada
  • 2018-09-27
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Untitled

This exceptional painting demonstrates Husain’s continued pre-occupation with classical Indian sculptural sources. Here, as with other paintings from this period, Husain’s approach to the figure is derived from the ancient tribhanga pose; with a break at the feet, hips and shoulder, creating a fluidity and rhythm that is distinctively Indian. The tight overlapping forms of the figures are reminiscent of the frieze panels of north Indian temples. Yashodhara Dalmia has mentioned that 'Husain drew from the classical, the miniature and the folk and attempted to meld them into a language which formulated the present.' (Y. Dalmia, M.F. Husain: Early Masterpieces 1950s-70s, London, 2006). In 1948, Husain visited the India Independence Exhibition with Francis Newton Souza and was struck by the classical Indian sculpture and traditional miniature painting from the Rajput and Pahari courts. The artist describes the influence the exhibition was to have on his work "...it was humbling. I came back to Bombay and in '48, I came out with five paintings, which was the turning point in my life. I deliberately picked up two to three periods of Indian history. One was the classical period of the Guptas, the very sensuous form of the female body. Next was the Basholi period, the strong colours of the Basholi miniatures. The last was the folk element. With these three combined, and using colours very boldly as I did with cinema hoardings, I went to town. That was the breaking point... to come out of the influence of the British academic painting and the Bengal Revivalist School." (Husain quoted in Nandy, The Illustrated Weekly of India, December 4-10, 1983). Within the frieze-like composition of this painting the female figures dominate. Throughout his career Husain's women were often portrayed with a dignity and strength that was both ancient and modern. 'The central concern of Husain's art, and its dominant motif, is woman... Strong angular lines and flatly applied patches of colour 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) These remarkable paintings belong to a German family collection. The collector was the daughter of a middle-class Indian Catholic Goan family from Bombay, who now lives in Germany. She was a member of The Bombay Choral Society and visited every exhibition she could, developing an early interest in art and music. After studying and working as a teacher, the collector reached her twenties and there was an expectation for her to marry. Whilst at one of the Bombay society parties, she met her future husband, a German pharmaceutical executive. Before the couple moved to Europe, the Indian lady wished to take a few mementos with her to remind her of India. The collector's instinct was to use the money to buy art and so she made her way to Chemould Gallery in Bombay, where she met Maqbool Fida Husain. She got to know him and was fascinated by his work, subsequently acquiring several of his paintings. She first encountered this Gaitonde painting at Chemould and was instantly struck by its beauty, but having made a number of recent purchases she declined to acquire it. However the memory of the painting lived on in her mind, and for her it came to epitomise her love of her homeland and she felt that she was destined to own it. So she went back to the gallery only to find that it was reserved to a gentleman who resided in Malabar Hill. The gentleman had taken the painting on loan. Coincidently he not only resided in the same area of Bombay as herself but also in the very same building. Determined to have the painting, she visited the gentleman and pleaded with him to give her the work. He soon recognised how much the painting meant to her and let her have it. Two years later, during the mid-1960s, the collector moved to Germany with her husband and the paintings have remained in the collection of her family ever since. Signed in Devanagari upper left

  • USAUSA
  • 2015-03-18
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Untitled (Two Women Working)

In 1943, Narayan Shridhar Bendre was hailed by the Times of India as the leading artist of his generation.  For a brief period he taught M. F. Husain, helped him gain admission to the Sir J. J. School of Art in Bombay and encouraged other artists, including K. H. Ara, to persevere with their vocation. Ironically, as the modernist thrust of the artists that he had taught began to capture the imagination of the Indian art scene, Bendre’s own style became overlooked. In retrospect, however, he is considered to be one of the most significant Indian artists of the twentieth century. From the late 1960's, women become a focal point in Bendre's work. Although his technique had been adopted from western artistic movements, including the customary use of black and brown paint similar to that of the German expressionists, the inspiration for his work was always drawn directly from the world around him. These familiar scenes, idyllic vignettes of village women in bucolic settings, were painted with deceptively little modelling. The present work represents two women who acquire a monumental stature through the two-dimensional stylization of their forms and their authority of the picture plane. Bent forward, their synchronized body language and similar garb portray their accord with one another. They are in control of their natural environment, yet one with it: Bendre deliberately utilizes a controlled palette such that the arid, solid tones of their skin and vestments reflect the fragmented colors of the field. Due to the minimalistic backdrop, elimination of detail, and lack of perspective, the women appear pasted on to a flat setting, creating a mood simultaneously dreamy and earthly. The scene is a tranquil moment that reveals the natural interdependency between people and between humans and their environs. Bendre explains, “Man is the centre of my universe, along with his emotions, his love, his social intercourse, his surroundings.”(N.S. Bendre, “My Painting", Bendre: The Painter and The Person, The Bendre Foundation for Art and Culture & Indus Corp., Toronto, 1990, p. 63). Signed and dated in Devanagari lower right

  • USAUSA
  • 2014-03-19
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Untitled

This painting is representative of the myriad of artistic sources that Husain used throughout his career. As Yashodhara Dalmia states 'Husain drew from the classical, the miniature and the folk and attempted to meld them into a language which formulated the present.' (Y.Dalmia, M.F.Husain: Early Masterpieces 1950s-70s, Asia House, London, 2006). In 1948, Husain visited the India Independence Exhibition with Souza and was struck by the classical Indian sculpture and traditional miniature painting from the Rajput and Pahari courts. The artist describes the influence the exhibition was to have on his work "...it was humbling. I came back to Bombay and in '48, I came out with five paintings, which was the turning point in my life. I deliberately picked up two to three periods of Indian history. One was the classical period of the Guptas, the very sensuous form of the female body. Next was the Basholi period, the strong colours of the Basholi miniatures. The last was the folk element. With these three combined, and using colours very boldly as I did with cinema hoardings, I went to town. That was the breaking point... to come out of the influence of the British academic painting and the Bengal Revivalist School." (Husain quoted in Nandy, The Illustrated Weekly of India, December 4-10, 1983). Husain's women from this period are portrayed with a dignity and strength that is both ancient and modern. '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) As this painting demonstrates Husain's treatment of the female form is derived from the ancient tribhanga pose associated with classical Indian sculpture. There are three breaks at the feet, hips and shoulder creating a fluidity and rhythm that is distinctively Indian. Signed in Devanagari lower right and further signed, dated and inscribed 'M.F. Husain / 1959 / 25 -D, BADAR BAG, / BALARAM ST. / BOMBAY-7' on reverse

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 2014-10-07
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RAM KUMAR (B.1924)

RAM KUMAR (B.1924) Benaras Ink and wax on paper 11 x 14 3/4 in. (27.9 x 37.5 cm.) From the mid 1950's Ram Kumar produced a series of figurative works that provide a visual commentary to the despair experienced by so many in post-Independence urban India. His forlorn figures stare out of bleak urban landscapes, but in 1961 he visits Varanasi with M F Husain and a change appears in his work. 'I had gone to Banaras [Varanasi] for the first time about 35 years ago.  It was in the middle of winter.  And I had reached late at night.  The dimly lit lanes were deserted and gave an impression of a ghostly deserted city.  Except for the occasional howl of stray dogs, all was quiet.  I thought the city was only inhabited by the dead and their dead souls.  It looked like a haunted place and still remains the same.  The main purpose of coming to Banaras was to feel its depth and intensity.  I had to see and feel the city in terms of lines and forms with a new visual experience.'  (Ram Kumar in Ram Kumar a Journey Within, New Delhi, 1996, p. 89). His Varanasi series marks a significant shift in his work, from his figurative phase to a semi-abstracted world where the human figure is noticeably absent. 'By banishing the figure... Ram Kumar was able to emphasize the nullification of humanity, and to deploy architecture and landscape as metaphors articulating cultural and psychological fragmentation.'(Ranjit Hoskote in Ram Kumar: A Journey Within, New Delhi, 1996, p. 37). The artist's choice of the sacred city as the catalyst and inspiration for this move away from the figurative style is conceptually coherent; Hindus believe that death or cremation in this holy city leads to liberation rather than rebirth in another form and in some ways these sentiments are reflected in the transition in Kumar's work from figuration to abstraction. The artist admits that his experience of the city blurred the boundary lines between life and death but in visual terms it seems this is expressed in his painting by a blurring of the boundary lines between form and abstraction. ' Wandering along the ghats in a vast sea of humanity, I saw faces like masks bearing marks of suffering and pain, similar to the blocks, doors and windows, jutting out of dilapidated old houses, palaces, temples. The labyrinths of lanes and by-lanes of the city hundreds of old boats - I almost saw a new world, very strange yet very familiar, very much my own.' (Ram Kumar in Ram Kumar: A Journey Within, New Delhi, 1996, p. 89). The dramatic intensity of his early figurative paintings is retained in these canvases, but the works attain a kind of austere brilliance, a certain ascetic purity. 'Every sight was like a new composition, a still life artistically organized to be interpreted in colours. It was not merely outward appearances which were fascinating but they were vibrant with an inner life of their own, very deep and profound, which left an everlasting impression on my artistic sensibility. I could feel a new visual language emerging from the depths of an experience.' (ibid.) This crystallizing of forms that begins in the 1960's is an artistic journey that continues in his paintings for many years, a process whereby form and the orchestration of colour becomes central to the artistic process. Yet the paintings themselves retain the urge to express the desolation or loss that the artist so frequently witnesses in the lives of those around him. 'There is a visionary link between his paintings and his stories. Both are characterized by an asceticism of form. If there are no extravagant lines in his drawings, there are no melodramatic gestures in his stories. The melancholic stillness that settles over his city landscape is analogous to the arid silence that separates the characters he creates. The severe beauty of colours in his sketchbooks finds its equivalent in the sad cadence of sentence in his writing. His landscapes are remote, alien, threatening; his stories are sad, troubled and brooding.' (Alok Bhalla, Introductory Essay, The Sea and Other stories by Ram Kumar, Shimla, 1997, p. ix).

  • INDInde
  • 2012-08-27
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Untitled (Man Lying in the Verandah); Untitled (The Parsi Girl)

[What] Rabindranath Tagore is to Indian literature and [M. F. Husain] to Indian art, [R. K.] Laxman is to Indian cartooning. (Letters to the editor, Financial Express, 28 January 2015, https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor-51/35726/) Cartoonist and illustrator R. K. Laxman is celebrated as a national treasure in India. He began his career illustrating the life of his famous elder brother, writer R. K. Narayan, for local papers. In the 1940s, Laxman moved to Mumbai, where he briefly worked for The Free Press Journal, before establishing his long-term vocation at The Times of India from 1947, the year of Independence. It was at the Times that Laxmans iconic Common Man was born, a cartoon figure celebrated by millions for being just that, an ordinary man who faced the same daily trials and tribulations as his readers. Through cartoons like the Common Man, Laxman was able to provide a humorous visual commentary on the social, economic and political turmoil of his nation. The charged topics he pursued were consistently portrayed through Laxmans self-proclaimed mood of mischievous abandon. (R. K. Laxman quoted in RK Laxman: The old man of Bori Bunder, DailyO, 28 January 2015 https://www.dailyo.in/politics/rk-laxman-the-old-man-of-bori-bunder-you-said-it-common-man/story/1/1715.html) The current works are two charming ink studies by Laxman, which both exhibit the distinctive and effortless line of the cartoonists hand. Drawn in his typical playful style, Untitled (Man Lying in the Verandah) and Untitled (The Parsi Girl) capture the same mood of mischievous abandon which Laxman ascribed to his famous cartoons. Signed 'R. K. Laxman' centre left and inscribed and dated 'S/S, A / Wrly, Jan. 31 / P850' lower right; Inscribed and dated 'S/S, S. R. / 13/6/84, Tonight' lower right

  • INDInde
  • 2018-11-29
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Untitled

This important drawing from the early 1960s was part of an exhibition held at the Shridharani Art Gallery in Delhi in 1964. Titled 'Six Artists in Black and White', the exhibition included drawings by M.F. Husain, Ram Kumar, Akbar Padamsee, Bal Chhabda, V.S. Gaitonde, and Krishen Khanna. Krishen Khanna wrote in the exhibition catalogue 'A brush used for oil painting, even the smallest has width and can never achieve the non-dimensional character of point which a quill can. The point retains the possibilities of growth. When it moves in a direction it forms what we call a line and it is this movement which can be of interest... It is well to bear in mind that the line does not, as such, exist in nature but is a conceptual aid... A line when it is multiplied, forms areas with possibilities of tonal variations, and this brings in the second important characteristics-namely that of black and white.' (Y. Dalmia, The Banquet Years, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2001, p. 75) Gaitonde attended the J.J. School of Art in Bombay where he came into contact with fellow artists Tyeb Mehta, Akbar Padamsee, Sayed Haider Raza and Francis Newton Souza. Gaitonde's brief association with the Progressive Artists' Group and later the Bombay Group brought him into contact with the influential teacher Shankar B. Palsikar who was to introduce Gaitonde to the Indian miniature watercolour technique (S. Poddar, V.S. Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life, Guggenheim Foundation & DelMonico Books, Prestel Publishing, New York, 2014, p. 19). Along with this absorption of traditional Indian painting techniques, Gaitonde was also influenced by the work of the German Expressionist Paul Klee who was to shape his artistic output during the 1950s and early 1960s. Japan made quite an impact on Gaitonde aged just 33, who won an award at the first exhibition of Young Asian Artists held in Tokyo in 1957. The year before this drawing was produced Gaitonde had moved towards a monochromatic palette that was in part fuelled by the artist's interest in Zen Buddhism and the principles of calligraphy. Along with the current work the artist produced a series of black and white works on paper and paintings in 1962 that all display similar abstract 'writings' and textural structures emerging from a perceived horizon. The hieroglyphic designs and patterns seen in his sketches and drawings were 'meaningfully deployed in his paintings' performing 'a stylistic function by organising the formal tensions in the available space and by quietly dramatising the interplay of light, texture and space.' (D. Nadkarni, Gaitonde, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, 1983, unpaginated) In 1964, a Rockefeller Fellowship brought Gaitonde to New York, and into direct contact with the work of artists like Adolph Gottlieb and the rest of the Abstract Expressionist movement. The experience must have been overwhelming, and must have given Gaitonde a feeling of liberation in America which was in many ways the home of lyrical abstraction. He preferred to term his works as non-objective, and his ideas and paintings began to reflect a sustained engagement with Zen Buddhism and Chinese calligraphy. Gaitonde produced very few works during his lifetime, partly due to his philosophical and meticulous approach to his art. The artist held strong beliefs in his identity as a painter and isolated himself from others, removing any distractions that would interfere with his goal in achieving the purest form of expression through light, colour and texture. Gaitonde's primary concern was not with representation but with the painted surface itself. In the artists own words: A painting is simply a paintinga play of light and colour. Every painting is a seed which germinates in the next painting. A painting is not limited to one canvas, I go on adding elements and thats how my work evolves ... There is a kind of metamorphosis in every canvas and the metamorphosis never ends." (M. Menezes, The Meditative Brushstroke, ART India Magazine, Vol. III, Issue III, 1998, p. 69) Signed and dated in Devanagari lower right

  • INDInde
  • 2018-11-29
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