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Signed 'Husain' (upper left)
Acquired directly from the artist
Private collection, Singapore
Hussain’s repertoire is rich in its depiction of Hindu deities. Of these, the artist gives the elephant-headed God, Ganesha a special and prominent place. In this painting, Ganesh is presented as playing the Tanpura with the Tabla kept in the background. A patchwork of colours surround the string and percussion instrument, giving the deity and his music a sense of movement and life. Hussain's sensitivity to music and his effort to give his art a sense of musicality are evident in this work.
‘In negotiating the iconic, Husain has re-invested it with a mythic aura, restoring its original function. [...] In ancient epics, the gods stood for immanent energies and were always symbolically represented, imbued as they were with a universal significance. Husian, under modernism, empowered them with a symbolic presence while contextualising them in the contemporary, thereby layering their form with multiple meanings.’ (Y. Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives, New York, 2001, p. 114)
(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.