Maqbool Fida Husain
M.F. Husain (B.1915, Maharashtra, India)
Muqbool Fida Husain, born in 1915 and one of the most highly decorated Indian artists, who is known not only for his great body of figurative art, but also for his ground-breaking films. He is represented in many international museums and collections and is still painting in various studios across the world.
A self-taught artist, Muqbool Fida Husain learnt the art of calligraphy and practised the Kulfic khat with its geometric forms. In 1937 he reached Mumbai determined to become an artist, with hardly any money and lived m a cheap room in a by lane inhabited by pimps and prostitutes. Initially, Husain apprenticed himself to a painter of cinema hoardings which he would paint with great dexterity perched on scaffolding sometimes in the middle of traffic.
Husain was noticed for the first time in 1947 when he won an award at the annual exhibition of the Bombay Art Society. Subsequently, he was invited by Souza to join the Progressive Artist's Group. A great deal of experimentation in the early years led to some remarkable works, for example, include Between The Spider And The Lamp, Zameen and Man. By 1955 he was one of the leading artists in India and had been awarded the “Padma Shri“.
He was a special invitee along with Pablo Picasso at the Sao Paulo Biennial in 1971, and along with several solo exhibitions, he also had major retrospectives in Mumbai in 1969, in Calcutta in 1973 and in Delhi in 1978. Husain has participated in many international shows including Contemporary Indian Art, held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London 1982; “Six Indian Painters“, Tate Gallery, London 1985; modem Indian Painting, Hirschhorn Museum, Washington 1986 and Contemporary Indian Art, Grey Art Gallery, New York 1986.
In 1967 he won the Golden Bear at the International Film Festival at Berlin for his documentary “Through the Eyes” of a Painter and has made several short films since then. Husain was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1973, the Padma Vibhushan in 1989 and was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1986. One of the most charismatic artists in India today, he is known for his emphatic understanding of the human situation and his sensitive depiction in paint. The early evolution of his painterly language was overtaken by adventurous forays into installations and performance art, his experimentations with new forms of art are both unexpected and pioneering.