57.1 х 18.9 in. cm.
Signed, inscribed, and dated '58 lower front right in oil paint.
Note: This work is custom framed in dark brown wood frame. The painting is in excellent condition. This painting was acquired by present owner directly from the artist, with all supporting documentation.
"Paola" leans suggestively on a low stone wall, one hand on hip, the other bearing a large beaded bracelet, auburn hair with short bangs framing luminous blue eyes, this nearly life-size oil painting of a beautiful young woman is a true masterpiece by one of India's most famous Post-Modern and Contemporary artists Maqbool Fida (M.F.) Husain. Painted in 1958, "Paola" is one of Husain's most dynamic, exciting and specific oil paintings known. This work is incredibly rare and desirable, due to the early date of the work, its large scale, and the specificity of the composition, namely that Husain is painting a portrait of a specific person. Who is Paola and what is her relationship to the artist? This is an exciting example of Husain's frequent theme of depicting women, occasionally in this vertical format in his oeuvre, and his iconic use of Western modernism and Indian artistic tradition here is at is apex. For example, Paola in name and demeanor appears to be a non-Indian woman, wearing a western-style outfit that was "au current" in 1958; a fitted crisp white collared shirt, blue rolled capri pants and white ballet-flats that are met with a traditional rural Indian setting with vibrant saffron yellow background framing her figure. Husain's definite use of black outlines to define her figure in the composition is another signature of the artist, and here they are used to underscore both Paola's beautiful physique and her confident demeanor.
Maqbool Fida Husain (B. 1915-2011) was a proclaimed self-taught artist, was born in Maharashtra, in West India. As seen here, Husain applies a cubist approach to his art, fracturing forms and skewing perspectives, yet maintains an overall figurative element deeply rooted in traditional Indian imagery. From a young age he had an affinity for drawing, and found his first foray into the arts by apprenticing a billboard painter in Mumbai. In 1947 he was recognized with an award at an exhibition at the Bombay Art Society. His work is characterized by capturing the true and honest nature of the human condition through his unique painting style. In 1971 he was invited, along with Pablo Picasso, to the Sao Paulo Biennial and in subsequent years was the focus of several retrospectives in Calcutta, Mumbai, and Delhi. His work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy of the Arts and Tate Gallery both in London, the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C.
In recent years since Husain’s passing, his work's public presence has increased drastically, as his paintings have consistently achieved strong prices, with the record being $1,609,000 USD at Christie’s New York in March 2008. Husain’s rise in popularity has also brought much controversy, and in 1996 a series of paintings from the 1970’s was interpreted as anti-Hindu, which sparked death threats and law suits against the artist. In 2006, Husain became a self-imposed exile until 2010 when he was offered citizenship by the country of Qatar. Husain took up residence in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and London, England, where he passed away on June 9, 2011 at the age of 95.