Acrylic on canvas
53 1/2 x 76 3/4 in. (135.8 x 195 cm.)
Signed and dated 'Husain / '73' and further signed in Devanagari and Urdu lower right and further signed, dated and inscribed 'THEOREM THIRTEEN" / Husain / 1973 / GENEVE' on reverse
'In painting there is not so much explanation as mere reflection. As soon as you paint a line the canvas is divided. Whether you put a tree or whatever is immaterial; the line itself has defined something. This is the disintegration of the surface, the piercing of it into so many fragments. If you go on working further then more happens. It is like a nucleus of acts. Then you can read meanings into it all; why this and why that. But at first you have been working subconsciously. You have created two opposite planes, then thought out how to unite them. This working is a constant process of disintegrating and uniting. You destroy and then you try to make it coherent. That is life. You take two steps and with the third you try to reconcile. This is the most elementary feature of meaning.' (M.F. Husain, in a series of interviews in London, 1986, reprinted in Dr. Daniel Herwitz, Husain, Mumbai, 1988, p. 27)
Theorem Thirteen belongs to a group of works completed in the 1970s when Husain was experimenting with the distillation of forms to pure geometric elements. His compositions, throughout the six decades that he painted, usually captured the vibrancy of the local people and their daily lives. Landscapes, devoid of that vital human element, formed a much rarer part of his oeuvre. Here, however, he has chosen to pare down the components of a conventional landscape, paying special attention to spatial divisions, by dividing the canvas into horizontal bands and introducing various geometric shapes, juxtaposed by his deliberate choice of colours to enhance the overall impact. The thin slivers of blank, white canvas that appear in multiple places is another unusual pictorial device used with maximum effect.
The current painting was preceded by two smaller works, which were similar in composition, titled Homage to a Vertical Line I and II. The reference in the title further explains his interest in reinterpreting the landscape. The definite shapes in the work recall, perhaps sub-consciously, the unending horizon of the sea; specifically the blue form, which could resemble a sail, and the brown semi-circle which captures the moon.
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About The Artist:
MAQBOOL FIDA HUSAIN (1913-2011)