INDIA'S PICASSO
HUSAIN'S HORSES ARE THE Favorites AT BONHAMS CONTEMPORARY SOUTH ASIAN SALE

8 Apr 2014, Islamic and Indian Art

INDIA'S PICASSO
HUSAIN'S HORSES ARE THE Favorites AT BONHAMS CONTEMPORARY SOUTH ASIAN SALE

8 Apr 2014, Islamic and Indian Art

Maqbol Fida Husain, most famed for his horse paintings, is known as the "Picasso of India"

Two horse paintings by celebrated Indian artist, Maqbol Fida Husain are among the front runners at Bonhams Modern and Contemporary South Asian sale which will take place on 8th April in London's New Bond Street.

The horse has been a key theme in the artist's oeuvre throughout the last sixty years. MF Husain, who earned both fame and wrath for his paintings, is regarded as the "Picasso of India".

The top lot in the sale is MF Husain's Untitled (Horses), an oil on canvas executed in 1978, estimated at £150,000-£250,000. In the offered lot, two crazed horses are portrayed bucking and kicking, with gaping mouths and wide staring eyes against a dark ink-blue background. The fawn bodies of the beasts are marked out in heavy black line and smudged shadows.

The period of 1965-1975 was one of the most troubled decades in the history of modern India and the effects of the conflict heavily influenced Husain's painting. Several works from this period reflect this mood of aggression and violence.

Walk on Earth, an acrylic on canvas executed in 1983, is another of Husain's highlights. It is offered for sale with estimates of £40,000-60,000.

As conflict subsided, color crept back into Husain's work. Three horses in vivid yellow, green and chalky gray against a colorful green and red background. As a Muslim, Husain was heavily influenced by his Islamic faith. Walk on Earth most probably refers to the Qu'ran writing, "Do not walk pompously or arrogantly about the earth; you cannot break it open, nor match the mountains in height."

Maqbol Fida Husain traveled extensively during his lifetime and the influence of different cultures upon his work is clear to see. In its early stages, he was very much influenced by the Chinese style. In the 1950s Husian had visited China where he encountered the art of the Sung Dynasty and was particularly inspired by the depiction of horses by celebrated Chinese artist, Xu Beihong (President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in China).

Husain's trademark horses have now become a vital part of Indian art history.


NOTES FOR EDITORS

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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