The death of India's Picasso, Maqbool Fida Husain
June 9, 2011, the early morning UK news announced that India's so-called Picasso, Maqbool Fida Husain, had died aged 95. This famous artist died after a month long illness. He passed away at around 2.30 am in the Royal Brompton Hospital, London.
Like me you may have known little of this man, or then again you may have been a fan for years. I quickly realised that I had seen and appreciated this artist's work in the past without realising the artist's identity.
So who was Maqbool Fida Husain?
Husain was born in Pandharpur, Maharashtra, India on September 17th, 1915. He attended the School of Art in Mumbai in the late 1920s, soon developing his own artistic style. In the early part of the 20th century many would be artists were experimenting with the new styles of art such as cubism.
On leaving the school af art Husain began to work painting cinema hoardings. From this humble beginning a long and often controversial career in art began.
By the 1940s and 50s Husain was a successful artist. As his fame grew his paintings were sold for huge sums of money. Husain was to fall from grace as far as the Indian people were concerned in the late 1990s.
Earlier works of art by him were deemed offensive and an insult to Indian religion. Husain was a Muslim but may Indian people follow the Hindu faith. His paintings from the 70s showed nude Hindu deities and upset many people.
He became a figure of hate in India and faced court proceedings, vandalism and death threats.
By the 21st Century the situation was getting worse instead of better. Husain decided to leave India. He put himself under a self imposed exile and lived in London, England and Dubai. Recently he was offered citizenship of Qatar which he accepted. It seemed that although India did not want MF Husain other countries did.
During his early career, in 1966, he had been awarded the Prestigious Padme Shre by the then Indian government. However this talented man never managed to regain such stature in India although many admired his work.
He was suitably eccentric, which goes with the territory of being an artist. Often barefoot but dressed in a wacky style he was hard to miss.
In death artists often achieve their most fame and glory. Once a painter dies his works of art can fetch ridiculously high sums of money.
Maqbool Fida Hussain's art works already command huge sums of money. Perhaps now though he will also be able to achieve his rightful place in Indian art. RIP