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Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Indian Art Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Indian Art M F HUSAIN (1915 - 2011)
From the collection of a family in south-India that patronized Husain greatly from the 1950s.
"I wanted to transmute the abstraction inherent in Indian classical music through colour association "
~ M. F Husain (as requoted in an article by Sunday Mid-Day News, 29th October 2017)
MF Husain can be considered the grand old man of modern Indian art. While he is often likened to Pablo Picasso, Husain is wholly Indian in his output and ethos. The barefoot painter was born in Pandarpur, Maharashtra, into a family of meagre means, his mother a vegetable seller and his father a worker in a textile factory. His father greatly encouraged the young boy to paint, buying him his first colours.
With a fertile creative mind and youthful spirit, he had a prodigious output which spanned everything from films to sketches to the paintings he is known for. Significantly, he changed the face of the Indian film industry with his extensive work as a painter of billboards; here he emblazoned hoardings with the visages of screen gods and goddesses.
Husain appreciated his own religion but also had a deep fondness for the Hindu pantheon, immortalizing characters from the epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana, numerous gods and goddesses as well as delving into themes from the Puranas and the Gita.
Husain had a great fondness for music. This becomes more apparent in the plethora of his paintings that feature musicians. This work, an oil on canvas dated 1977, in the characteristic Husain modernist visual language, features a veena player engrossed in the music, with attendants in the background. It shows the influences of Cubism, which is something that inspired quite a few of the artist's works. While it is not saturated with colour like some of his other paintings, there is a boldness in the expressionism of the execution especially in the folds of the cloth, the ardour with which the musician bends over his instrument which fills the canvas with a dynamism that he was famous for.