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Lot Details

Signed 'Husain' (upper right)
Further signed, titled and dated 'Husain / "Lady with Blue Tiger" / P.1 005' (on the reverse)

Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
Saffronart / Lot 48 / Autumn Auction 2011 / 21-22 September 2011 / India
Private collection, Dubai

From the beginning, M.F. Husain had been responsive to the force of symbolization. He masterfully utilize magical signs, masks and rely on the capacity of metaphors to reflect the ambiguities of reality. In his canvases, coexistence of man, seasons and animals are not on a mundane nor realistic level. He employs the associative power of colors and drew freely on animals and inanimate motif to suggest emotions.

In this canvas, Husain depicted a reclining lady holding a quill as if to write in the lotus leaf. Referencing his painting,"That Obscure Object of Desire", the lady is paired with a large blue tiger prancing behind her in a show of strength and ferocity; a huge black sun looming behind it. The tiger symbolizing male desire leers at the female. Rendered in a juxtaposing manner, both figures have an erotic quality to it. Notable is Husain's depiction of the titular lady, which is similar to his depiction of some of his famous horses; she is rendered with incomplete limbs.

Husain incorporate animal forms to represent nature and embody their emotional, literary and mythical associations. The characters of his metaphors, the tiger in this case, is not the subject of the painting, but the inspiring principle that it depicts. Much like a fable, he includes animal form to reflect and enhance the mood of the human character as in this painting. Husain successfully created a visual poetry that has its own rhythm, its own symbolism, and its own sensuous and abstract connotations in his composition.

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.