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Lot Details

Signed and dated 'Husain 9.V.002' (lower left)

Bagash Art Gallery, Dubai.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, based in Dubai.

When Hussain painted the horses for the first time in the 1950s, it was certain that he sought much more in the piece than a mere aesthetic exercise. A personal meditation plays out on the canvas and Husain’s desire to universalise a personal and intimate relationship with the animal is evident.

“The horse as a multidimensional symbolic motif was itself to interest Husain deeply. During his travels in China in 1952 he studied the Sung dynasty renderings of horses. Later, in Europe, whereas he found the Renaissance horses unexciting, he was strongly attracted by Franz Marc’s work and by Marino Marini’s archaic equestrian sculpture, with its balance between horizontal and vertical lines to achieve a feeling of solitary and monumental anguish. Husain’s own use of the horse motif has been, however, even more intuitive and complex [...] (Richard Bartholomew and Shiv S. Kapur, Husain, Harry N. Abram, New York, 1971, p. 39)

The horses are not considered as static structures, amenable merely to posture and style. Instead, they are painted as sensuous and pulsating creatures, each alive and distinct in its own right. The unabashed use of impasto emphasises the untamed majesty of a herd of horses in the wild.

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.