Signed in English and Devanagari (on the reverse)
Inscribed '101 x 152' (on the reverse)
Bearing 'Hamish Dewar Fine Art Conservation' label (on the stretcher)
Acquired directly from the artist
Private collection, Italy
Saffronart / Lot 9 / Summer Online Auction / 10-11 June 2015
Private collection, London
Producing works that are rooted in Indian sensibility, Maqbool Fida Husain made use of his country's deep repertory of symbols by depicting them into his works and cultivating a visual vocabulary ripe with metaphor and meaning. His symbolism ranged from the literal representation of cultural icons like Mother Teresa and Gandhi, allegorical masterpieces with narrative borrowed from the great epics, the cinema, and traditional folk elements. He made use of these remarkably common symbols and employed them profoundly, oftentimes bordering on the mystical.
Here, Husain uses one of his recurring motifs of animals. Portrayed in dynamic and energetic strokes and teeming with associated meaning and a plethora of references. Depicting the figures in sharp lines, the animal forms appear frenzied, exuding palpable power and movement. The hand gesturing a mudra gives corporeality to an otherwise intangible presence while consequently asserting Husain's very own brand of symbolism.
A brilliant colorist, Husain devised a unique color scheme heightening the imagery and lending depth and vibrance to his work. The deliberate use of bold, thick lines provides his figures motion and potency while emphasizing the economy of his lines as an integral part of his genius. The artist posits: "Line is a virile force with keen latent mobility, which despite being imperceptible in nature, is constantly striving to assert itself." (As quoted in Yashodhara Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives).