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The Death of India's Picasso, Maqbool Fida Husain

Updated on March 12, 2020
ethel smith profile image

Eileen loves to travel as much as possible both at home in the U.K. and abroad with local places of interest high on her to visit list.

Maqbool Fida Husain

June 9, 2011, early morning news sources in the United Kingdom 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 realized that I had seen and appreciated this artist's work in the past without realizing the artist's identity.

So who was Maqbool Fida Husain?

Who was Maqbool Fida Husain?

Maqbool Fida Husain was born in Pandharpur, Maharashtra, India on September 17, 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 of 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.

However Maqbool Fida 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 now deemed offensive and an insult to the Indian religion.

Husain was a Muslim but many Indian people follow the Hindu faith. His paintings from the 70s showed nude Hindu deities which 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 and Maqbool decided to leave India.

He put himself under self imposed exile, moved to the U.K. and began living in London, England and Dubai.

Not long before his death he was offered citizenship of Qatar which he accepted.

It seemed that although India did not want Maqbool Fida Husain many other countries did.

In 1966 during his early career he was awarded the Prestigious Padme Shre by the then Indian government.

However this talented man never managed to regain such stature in India although many people still admired his work.

He was suitably eccentric, which seems to go 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.

However 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.

May he rest in peace.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Ethel Smith


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    • SweetiePie profile image


      6 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I never heard of this artist before reading your hub, but I like his style.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      They do. Look at the Karma sutra, or have I got that wrong?

    • Idecide profile image


      9 years ago from India

      he had put Indian contemporary art on the world map and brought the much deserved attention to it.

      It's a shame that he had to die outside India. He lived in exile, for painting nudes of Hindu Goddess and Mother India.

      Although I understand that people's sentiment were hurt, I seriously think that the government shouldn't have thrown him out of India.

      But, honestly, the decision to throw him out was more politics than sentiments. Kamasutra originated in India and erotic architectures of Khajuraho belong to India.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Buddy in death his fame will increase I guess

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Ehtel, this is a splendid hub about a great painter. You gave him a great tribute and may he RIP

    • ayazmangal profile image


      9 years ago from pakistan

      i not heard this news from any source but when i read this i was shocked i am from Pakistan and my all prays for this great man. no doubt he was the hero but Indian government not took good behavior with him and he was forced by getting refugee status in his last days.

      why every great man faced this kind of circumstances

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Yes it is HP. In time I have no doubt he will be a hero

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      9 years ago from Guwahati, India

      A great son of great nation.It is too late to honor him.


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