Untitled (Doll's Wedding)

My paintings, drawings and the recent paper work have been directly influenced by my experience of traditional Indian dolls, paper toys, shapes, galores. The experience of being with them, and the inspiration to create them, are inseparable. A painter is a child in his purity of feeling-for only then he creates with authenticity of his being. (Artist Statement, A. Mookerjee, Modern Art in India, Calcutta, 1956, p. 61)

Maqbool Fida Husain incorporates images associated with his childhood memories of popular Indian myths and the Indian countryside, specifically the life of the common man. In the late 1950s, Husain created a series of works entitled Doll's Wedding that drew inspiration from the charms of the Indian countryside, specifically the rituals associated with traditional Indian weddings. In Untitled (Doll's Wedding), he has created a fantasy celebration using the vibrant colors and elements of dance and music that are inherently part of Indian weddings. The bright red background, the color favored by most Indian brides, set against shades of orange, yellow and green infuse the work with a cohesive and positive energy. The overall effect is a joyous mel�e of colors that recalls the merriment and exuberance of a wedding celebration.

Husain's art is an expression of his personal vision. One of his main sources of creative energy "[...] is through his intimate contact with the masses. At their best, his paintings are profound, but they are never forbiddingly intellectual or cerebral. They have a strong emotional undercurrent, an engaging warmth, an immediate visual appeal, and they are passionately humanistic." (E. Alkazi, M. F. Husain: The Modern Artist & Tradition, Art Heritage, New Delhi, 1978, pp. 7, 38)

Signature: signed in Hindi and Urdu (lower right); further bearing Chemould Gallery label (on the reverse)


Chemould Gallery, Bombay

Christie's New York, 25 March 2004, lot 221

Formerly from a Private Collection, California

Sotheby's New York, 29 March 2006, lot 44

About Maqbool Fida Husain

A controversial artist known for narrative paintings done in a flat, Cubist style, Maqbool Fida Husain is regarded by some as the Picasso of India. A member of the Bombay Progressive Arts Group, Husain sought to create a modern Indian art form for the newly freed nation of India. Threatened and criticized by Hindu nationalist groups for his treatment of such sensitive subject matter as nude Hindu goddesses, the artist entered into a self-imposed exile. Self-taught, he painted Indian themes in the style of contemporary European artists, most notably Paul Klee. Husain’s depictions of historic figures, rural and urban Indian life, and religious iconography grew increasingly experimental over his lifetime, culminating with an unfinished series of triptychs, “Indian Civilization,” which pays tribute to Indian history and reveals Husain’s own personal mythology.

Indian, 1915-2011, Pandharpur, India, based in London, United Kingdom

Exhibition Highlights On Artsy

Masterpieces of Indian Modern Art, Dag Modern, New York
Mysteries of the Organism, AkaraArt, Mumbai
M.F. Husain: Master of Modern Indian Painting, Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)