Thursday, July 25, 2024

MF Husain’s death robs Indian art of tallest hero


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New Delhi: The passing away of Maqbool Fida Husain, India’s leading international face in contemporary 20th century art, marks the end of a golden era in India’s tryst with new-age art in an Indian idiom.

The man who loved Madhuri Dikshit, the darling of Bollywood, and galloping stallions in his eclectic colourscapes that exploded on the viewers’ face with its blitz of vibrant colours died in a London hospital of a heart attack in the wee hours of Thursday, just three months short of his 96th birthday.Billed as one of the most expensive artists in the subcontinent and in Asia, Husain leaves behind six children and a fleet of 13 swanky sports cars that included a trademark red Ferrari and the latest model of a Bugatti that he acquired year before last on his birthday. And of course a vast legacy of art – unparalleled.His canvases notched up to $2 million, a sale record for an Indian artist, at international auctions.

At the time of his death, the bearded artist who loved to pad around barefoot, towered over his peers, both in his vocation and in his regal good looks, was a citizen of Qatar, patronised by the Sheikha (the sultan’s wife) of Doha.His painting of the Bharat Mata and Indian goddesses in the nude earned him the wrath of Hindu rightwing activists who had moved court against the artist, forcing him to leave the country.

Born Sep 17, 1915 in Pandharpur in Maharashtra, he was popularly known as MF. According to Forbes magazine, he was the ‘Picasso of India.’

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1973 and was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1986. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1991. Between a period of 1948 to 1950, a series of exhibitions of M.F. Husain’s paintings travelled all over India. In 1956, his paintings were exhibited in the art galleries of Prague and Zurich. (IANS)


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