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Lot Details

Signed in Urdu and English, ‘Husain’ and dated ’77’ (lower right)

(Lot Note: Part of the artist's Andhra Cyclone Series)

Art Heritage Gallery, New Delhi
Private collection, Dubai

Many of Husain’s works show the artist’s concern for the suffering of India’s people, both articulating their plight and courage and offering a message of hope and the possibility of redemption.

In 1977, a cyclone ravaged the state of Andhra Pradesh, killing nearly 10,000 people. In response to this tragedy, Husain painted the Andra Cyclone Series, works that reflect gentle comfort to those in mourning and resolute hope for survivors of the disaster, one of which is the current lot.

In the work, a lamb is seen in a barren landscape, silhouetted against a dark background. Choosing the lamb was deliberate on Husain's part, it was after all a symbol of hope and an important symbol of spiritual purity in Christianity, a large minority religion in the region.

Evident in this work and his many other social pieces, Husain's sensibility as an artist goes much more than the humorous and the satire. His deep belief in India's secularity and pluralism gave his works traction for the better and the worse but gave them the gravitas to transform not only the mythic but also lived tragedy into powerful contemporary statements.

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.