Signed in Hindi and Urdu (lower right)
Further signed in Urdu, dated and inscribed 'To Kamal & Pasha 14 June 1971' (on the reverse)
Bearing partial label of Gallery Gita. (on the reverse)
Gallery Gita, New Delhi
Christie's / Sale # 2686 / Lot 78 / South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art / New York / March 2013
M.F Husian’s repertoire undoubtedly shows that the artist holds a deep appreciation for the classical arts and traditions of India. The cross-disciplinary facets of music, dance, painting, sculpture and film have left a significant mark in his approach to art. This aspect is evident in Husain’s aesthetic through the Wedding Chariot, where three-dimensional sculptures have been transformed into two-dimensional surface-figures. The figures are pronounced and their postures have been clearly borrowed from the classical tribhanga stance.
From his travels across India, Husain was inspired to express, through his works, the diverse stories and artistic traditions of the subcontinent. The golden yellow in this painting, is reminiscent of the turmeric that abounds every Indian wedding. Forms are structured on flat surfaces and minimal use of colour is harmonious. The viewer feels the movement and exuberance of the wedding procession. Conceptually and in their modelling, the figures emanate lyricism.
“To be liberated from the shackles of academic realism and to be able to experiment with the plasticity of form with only the canvas as the frame was a revolutionary step. All the more for Maqbool Fida Husain, who has his early training in representational art. In moving from accurate depictions of reality to the unending possibilities opened up by the painterly image was akin to leaping across several centuries. And in doing so, he was to become a legend in his lifetime [...] He was, at the same time, involved with language, with the formulation of modernity and with its rootedness in India.” (Yashodhara Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives, Oxford, New Delhi, 2001, p. 100)
Maqbool Fida Husain
(1915 - 2011)
Born in Pandharpur, Maharashtra, in 1913, Husain moved to Mumbai in 1937 where he sustained himself by painting cinema hoardings and designing furniture and toys. A self-taught artist, Husain was invited to join the Progressive Artists Group in 1947 by F.N. Souza after his first public exhibition of paintings. Most recently, his work has been featured in solo shows including ‘M.F. Husain: Early Masterpieces 1950s-1970s at the David Winton Bell Gallery, Providence in 2010; ‘Epic India’ at the peabody Essex Museum, Salem, in 2006-07; and ‘Early Masterpieces 1950-70s, at Asia House Gallery, London, in 2006. Husain was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, India’s Upper House of Parliament in 1986-92, during which he pictorially recorded its events, which were then published in 1994. The Government of India awarded him with a Padma Shri in 1966, a Padma Bhushan in 1973 and Padma Vibhushan in 1991, all high civilian honours. In 1971, Husain was invited to exhibit as a special invitee with Pablo Picasso at the Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil. In 2004, he was awarded the Lalit Kala Ratna by the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. Husian passed away in London in 2011.