Maqbool Fida Husain (India, 1915-2011)
The Blue Lady, oil on board, signed lower right, framed, 97.7 x 46.4cm (38 7/16 x 18 1/4in).
- Please note this artwork is canvas mounted on board and that the provenance for this lot should read:
Private UK Collection of John Hay; acquired in New Delhi, India from
Dhoomimal Gallery in the mid 1950s, thence by descent.
This work was presented to Elizabeth Partridge by her sister as a
wedding present in India.
Elizabeth Partridge was a foreign correspondent for The News Chronicle
and also worked for The Times of India in New Delhi during a time when
the country was still adjusting to its newfound independence. Partridge
had studied German for a year at Oxford, but received her degree in
English from the University of London. Hay tells of his mother's
decision to join the South East Asia Command when Lord Louis Mountbatten
entered a room filled with young Wrens and announced: "I'm going to
India. Who wants to come?"
Partridge and a number of other journalists were billeted at government
sponsored flats in Constitution House where the government could "keep
an eye on them". The painting came into the possession of the Hay family
following an encounter that Ms. Partridge's sister had with the artist.
She found Husain painting in the flat of P.N. Sharma, a friend who at
the time resided across the hall from where she and her sister were
living. Hay's aunt discovered the artist at work after coming upon the
open door to Sharma's flat. Inside, kneeling on the floor
and painting busily, was M. F. Husain surrounded by a number of
half-finished canvases which covered every surface and hung from every
wall. Hay's aunt expressed her great interest in the work and Husain, in
turn, told her that he was "under contract" to produce a number of
paintings for the proprietor of the Dhoomimal Art Gallery in Connaught
Having seen how beautiful Husain's paintings were, Hay's aunt resolved
to purchase one of them as a wedding present for her much-loved sister.
The gallery owner told her, with a flourish, that Husain had mentioned
he called the work "The Blue Lady" and that is forever how it became
known within the family.