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Lot Details

Signed 'Husain' (lower right)

Acquired directly from the artist
Private collection, Dubai

"He captures in their postures and lineaments their distinctive ethos and culture -- the Maharashtrian woman as distinguished from her sister in Kerala, the Rajasthani herdsmen from the Andhra peasant. Not by physiognomy or costume alone are they differentiated, but in their total bearing and presence." (E. Alkazi, M.F. Husain: The Modern Artist and Tradition, New Delhi, 1978, pg. 22)

As in this particular painting, 'Lady with a Candle', the titular lady is shown in a standing body position known as the tribhanga, a stance used in traditional Indian sculptures and classical dance forms. Characterized by the gentle "S" shape, her body oppositely curved at the waist and neck while holding the candle. The candle's glare is shown like a mosaic. Placed in her very own private sphere, Husain transformed the lady into an archetypal figure and depicted her with a featureless face making her universally relatable. The picture possessed a static poise with slow languorous deliberateness like a film still. The background possess no figuration and painted like so to depict areas of light and dark in the picture plane.

Husain has painted the female figure as an epitome of beauty and sensuality while retaining an accessible quality to it. Relentlessly paying obeisance to early Indian art, he incorporated local traditions and characteristics to his style, presentation and themes. He preserved a reticent and layered quality while also instilling an underlying admiration and understanding of the sensuality of the female form.

Like many of his seminal works, this composition captures Husain's endless exploration of his cultural roots. He returned time and again to his blended folk, tribal and mythological themes to create spirited art forms.

Maqbool Fida Husain

(1915 - 2011)
Born in Pandharpur, Maharashtra, in 1915, 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.