in Bonhams Indian and Islamic Sale

Islamic and Indian Art including Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art
23 Oct 2017
London, New Bond Street

A wild and energetic painting of a horse by Maqbool Fida Husain, India's most significant modern artist, is a leading work at Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art sale, on Monday 23 October at New Bond Street, London. The oil on canvas Untitled (Blue Black Horse) is estimated at £70,000-90,000.

Bonhams Head of Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art, Tahmina Ghaffar commented, "Untitled (Blue Black Horse) is a superb example of M.F. Husain's bold and instinctive style. The artist worked quickly and confidently; his rapid, expressive brushstrokes reinforcing the sense of movement. Appreciation of Husain's works has increased in the years since his death, and this painting will be a wonderful addition to any serious collection."

M.F. Husain was born into a lower-middle-class family in Pandharpur, Maharashtra. His love of art manifested itself early, and as a youth he designed equine effigies for his town's annual procession marking the death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson. From this point, horses became the most significant recurring motif in his work.

Husain later studied at the prestigious Sir J.J. School of Art, the oldest art institution in Mumbai, whose alumni also includes Vasudeo S. Gaitonde. In 1947, only a few short months after India gained independence, Husain co-founded the Progressive Artists' Group (P.A.G), alongside artists such as Francis Newton Souza and S.H. Raza. The purpose of the group was to break free from the British colonial past and its stultifying constraints, and create a uniquely Indian art, which explored the European modernist style with a focus on Indian subject-matter.

The later decades of Husain's life were marred by controversy. In the 1990s, two of his 1970s paintings of nude Hindu goddesses came to light, causing Hindu extremists to accuse the artist of besmirching their faith. The fanatics ransacked Husain's home, destroyed his canvases nationwide and put a £7m bounty on his head. In late 2006, with further threats to his life and property, Husain left India for good. He then acquired Qatari citizenship, and spent his time between the U.A.E, New York and London.

Although he often expressed a desire to return to India, fear prohibited him from going. Husain died in self-imposed-exile in London on 9 June 2011 at age 95, having completed some 20,000 paintings in his extensive career.


Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art
Bonhams, New Bond Street, London W1
Monday 23 October, 2pm
Specialist: Tahmina Ghaffar, Specialist – Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art


For further information and images call Pippa MacNeil on +44 (0) 20 7468 8210, or email pippa.macneil@bonhams.com or press@bonhams.com.

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers of fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewellery. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with sales also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit bonhams.com.

  1. Tahmina Ghaffar
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8382

Related auctions