Thursday, May 30, 2013

Masterpieces by Maqbool Fida Husain

Followed by the significant Amaya Collection sale, its first ever Indian art’s Evening Auction, Sotheby’s has now sourced a very impressive line-up of works - many of them fresh to the art market and also with great provenances - for its upcoming Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art auction in London.

The event to be held on 11th June will include two magnificent artworks by late Maqbool Fida Husain (the centenary year of his birth) offered at any auction for the first time – one of them from a former Indian Ambassador’s collection.

Being offered is Husain’s 1961 oil on canvas work, titled ‘Jhoola’, for the first time in (price estimate: £220,000-250,000) acquired directly from the legendary artist during the 1960s. It’s a perfect example of his unique blend of post-Impressionist and post-Independence painting. The work, illustrated in the 1972 monograph Husaini, is evocative of classical traditions and distinctly Modern flavor of India at the same time. It shows two women perched atop a swing (jhoola) that hangs from a tree. And a dark sun, quite a familiar motif from his early work, is there dominating the background.

Husain happened to visit the India Independence exhibit in 1948 with FN Souza that was a turning point in his own career, serving as a timely catalyst for his world-class visual vocabulary, as well exemplified in the work. It combines the early and medieval Indian sculpture’s voluptuous curves and fluid postures with the palette of the Indian miniature.

A second work by him, titled ‘Elephants One’ (price estimate: £100,000-150,000) is being offered for any sale for the first time since acquired in 1964 by the owner’s husband in New York, where he was posted as the Indian delegation representative to the UN. Later an Ambassador to Switzerland, France and Spain, he and many other diplomats befriended and helped the artist during his subsequent visits to America. Elephants appear in several of his work from this particular period, in part drawn from Husain’s interest in the portrayal of Lord Ganesha.

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