Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art / Maqbool Fida Husain (Indian, 1913-2011) Untitled (Horse)
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Acquired directly from the artist in December 2007 in London.
For a similar work sold in these rooms see Islamic & Indian Art Part II, Modern & Contemporary South Asian, Middle Eastern & Turkish Art, London, 23rd April 2013, lot 414.
سيرو في الأرض
كيف كان عاقبة المكذبين
Siro fil arz
Kaifa kaana aakebatul-mukazabeen
Explore the world
How was the end of liars
The sound of galloping horses seemed like a tremor to me.
Its echoes do not seems to stop.
All these horses running together raise a cloud of dust.
Duldul - the horse from the battle of Karbala,
Ashwamedh - reaching up to Luv and Kush.
Luminous in their seven rainbow colours.
Horses harnessed to the chariot of the Sun God,
Bursting through the sky.
Passionate horses, screaming with desire.
The Chinese terracotta horses,
Folk horses from the village of Bankura,
Horses, with the beauty of a woman and the valour of a man.
M.F. Husain (R. Siddiqui, In Conversation with Husain Paintings, Books Today Group, 2001, p. 114)
Husain's rapture with the horse motif was formed after the recurrence of this symbol at numerous points in his life. An early influence was the procession to mourn and commemorate the Prophet's grandson, Husayn ibn Ali, during the Islamic month of Muharram, when a tazia or effigy of Husayn ibn Ali's horse was carried through the streets.
In 1952 Husain visited China and was struck by both ancient Chinese pottery and paintings, in particular that of the Sung dynasty renderings of horses and by the works Xu Beihong. The dramatic monochromatic lines had the deftness of certainty yet also the fluidity of motion.
This undated acrylic on canvas created in the latter part of Husain's career encapsulates his various influences and is bolstered by the inclusion of the 137th verse of chapter 3, the Family of Imran from the Qu'ran, which says that similar situations [as yours] have passed before you, so travel through the earth and see what was the end of those who disbelieved [in the Oneness of Allah, and disobeyed Him and His Messengers]. The vibrant yellow of the horse pitted against the red background echoes this verse, and is both theatrical and striking, making it a quintessential Husain painting.