Maqbool Fida Husain (1915-2011)
Oil on canvas
29" x 33"
To many critics and collectors, M. F. Husain’s works from the late 60s and early 70s, such as those on view here, represent a high point in his early conceptual and more heavily abstracted canvases. In Untitled (Two Figures), one sees a rough simplicity of composition combined with rich allusions to the defining traits of masculine and feminine divinity in a state of union, with the red female figure embodying fertility, the blue male standing in for the god Krishna and his attributes, and the leaves representing the fecundity of these figures coming together. In Blue Abstract, we see the same union combined in a single figure whose sex is unclear, while Husain’s mastery of color and brushstroke comes to the fore in both the background and within the ambiguous figure itself.
Long considered a pioneer of modern Indian art and often referred to as “the Picasso of India”, M. F. Husain started painting at first in his spare time until joining the Bombay Progressive Artist’s Group (PAG) in 1947, where he began fusing Indian subject matter with Post-Impressionist colors, Cubist forms and Expressionist gestures, forging a synthesis between early European modernist techniques and the ever-shifting cultural and historical identities of India.
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