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Maqbool Fida Husain (Indian, 1915–2011)
LOT ID: 67064
Untitled (Chinese Hats), 1984

Ink Wash / Sumi-e, Watercolor, Ink, on paper
13.5 х 10.5 in. (34.29 x 26.67 cm.)
Signed, and dated lower right, front in ink.
Lot description
M.F. Husain. (Indian, 1915- 2011) "Untitled (Chinese Hats). 1984.
Chinese Ink on Paper. This work is custom framed to larger dimensions than those listed and is in excellent condition.

This is an important and dynamic example of the small-scale colorful ink on paper works by one of the most famous Modern Indian artists, M.F. Husain. The inspiration here is clearly Chinese, as he uses Chinese inks to paint a scene of a gathering of figures, all wearing bamboo straw pointed hats, an element the artist has picked up upon and abstracted, filling the scene with movement and color.

Considered the Picasso of India, self-taught artist Maqbool Fida Husain (1915-2011) combined western modernism with Indian folk art themes to create expressively dynamic paintings and drawings. 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. 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 the Tate Gallery, both in London, and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C.

In recent years, Husain’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.
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