M F Husain


Maqbool Fida Husain (M.F. Husain) was one of the most eminent and celebrated artist of India, whose work was widely recognized for drawing, painting, writing, and film making. He was born on September 17, 1915 in Pandharpur, Maharashtra (India) in a Muslim family to father Fida and mother Zunaib. His family moved to Indore after his mother died, when he was only 3 years old.

Husain pursued painting as his career after he attended art school in Mumbai. By using freehand drawing style with vibrant colors, he portrayed Indian theme in the contemporary style of European artistic movements, in particular Cubism. He was married to Fazila and had three sons Mustafa, Owais and Shamshad; and two daughters Aqueela and Raisa.  The world lost this majestic painter on June 9, 2011.

Education & Work

Husain pursued his primary education from Indore, where he spent his early years. His connotation with painting started at a very early age, when he learnt calligraphy and attempted the Kufi Khat. He also received training in writing poetry. He moved to Mumbai (Bombay) at the age of 20 and studied at Sir J. J. School of Arts for 1 year.

In the year 1937, M.F. Husain started his career by painting cinema hoardings. He also visited Baroda, Ahmedabad, and Surat, for painting landscapes. Husain also worked in a toy factory, where he built and designed fretwork toys. He became a well-known artist in the later years of 1940’s. Husain was an active member of Francis Newton Souza-founded Bombay Progressive Artists Group. One of his famous paintings “Sunhera Sansaar” displayed at Bombay Art Society exhibition in 1947 won an award, which marked his entry as a famous artist. Other works that established him as a remarkable artist were “Zameen and Man” and “Between The Spider And The Lamp”. In 1952, his first solo exhibition was displayed in Zurich.

The veteran artist participated in various solo exhibitions held in India and overseas, including “Early Masterpieces 1950-70’s” at Asia House Gallery (London), “M F Husain 2010 – The World is my Canvas” at Museum of Islamic Art (Qatar), “Contemporary Indian Art” at Royal Academy of Arts (London); “Six Indian Painters” at Tate Gallery (London); “Six Days of Live Painting” at Tata Centre (Kolkata), “Epic India: Paintings by M. F. Husain” at  Hurwitz Collection of Contemporary Indian Art (Salem, MA), “Paintings and Serigraphs by Husain” at Sarjan Art Gallery (Baroda), “Modern Indian Painting” at Hirshhorn Museum (Washington), to name a few.

M.F. Hussain also participated in group exhibitions to display his masterpieces. Some of his widely celebrated group exhibitions are “Continuum” at Delhi Art Gallery (New Delhi), “Figure/Landscape: Part Two” at Aicon Gallery (London), “The Modernists” at RL Fine Arts (New York), “Symbols and Metaphors” at The Centre of International Modern Art (Kolkata), “Master Class” at The Arts Trust (Mumbai), and “Bharat Ratna! Jewels of Modern Indian Art” at Museum of Fine Arts (Boston).

Awards and Accolades

Maqbool Fida Husain was honored with Padmashree in 1955, Padma Bhushan in 1973, and Padma Vibhushan in 1989 by Government of India – all the three are the prestigious civilian awards. In 2007, he bagged Honorary Doctorates from Mysore University, Jamia Millia Islamia University, and Benaras Hindu University. He won First Prize at the Lalit Kala Akademi in 1955 and received International Biennale Award in Tokyo in 1959. The artist was awarded with National Award for Best Experimental Film- “Through the Eyes of a Painter” in 1968. He was also conferred with Lalit Kala Ratna from Lalit Kala Akademi (New Delhi) in 2004, and Raja Ravi Varma Award from Government of Kerala in 2007.

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