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Lot Details

Signed 'Husain' (upper right)

Acquired directly from the artist
Artiana / Sale 1701 / Lot 60 / South Asian Art - Classical, Modern and Contemporary / Dubai / 23 - 27 March 2017
Private collection, Dubai

Painted for the first time in 1980, the Mother Teresa series has frequently resurfaced, and in varied mediums, in Husain’s repertoire. Its distinctness and accessibility has earned the series significant interest and popularity.

Often shown as a faceless figure, the woman in this series is not limited to the historicity of her theme; she manifests distinct points in a spectrum that includes, for instance, the general notions of motherhood, the Virgin Mary and perhaps even Husain’s own mother who passed away in his early boyhood. Variations in medium aside, a faceless woman, draped in a white sari with a dark blue border, often in the company of children, is a common refrain in the series.

“I have tried to capture in my paintings what her presence meant to the destitute and the dying, the light and hope she brought by mere inquiry, by putting her hand over a child abandoned in the street. I did not cry at this encounter. I returned with so much strength and sadness that it continues to ferment within." (Artist statement, Y. Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives, New York, 2001, p. 116)

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.