Maqbool Fida Husain, ‘Untitled (Wedding Chariot)’, 1971, Christie's South Asian + Chinese

M.F. Husain has recurrently paid homage to Indian cultural traditions in their classical forms. The inter-disciplinary nature of music, sculpture, dance, painting and film provided enormous inspiration to Husain. In this work, the influence of classical Indian sculpture and Husain's interest to convert sculptural and three-dimensional figures into flat two-dimensional surfaces is clearly evident.

The figures in this composition are represented with strong lines and postures borrowed from Indian dance. In the 1970s through minimal use of color and by playing with the effect of white space, Husain created stunning harmony and sense of rhythm. In Wedding Chariot, the viewer feels the sense of movement and direction and becomes part of the procession. The golden yellow sparkles and references the use of turmeric in Indian wedding rituals. The entire composition exudes the joy of a wedding day.

Signature: signed in Hindi and Urdu (lower right); further signed in Urdu and inscribed and dated 'To Kamal & Pasha 14 June '71' (on the reverse)


Acquired directly from the artist

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