PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL COLLECTION
Watercolour and ink on paper
48 x 57 1/2 in. (121.8 x 145.9 cm.)
Signed, dated and inscribed 'London / Husain / 10 july 86' and further signed in Urdu lower right
Acquired directly from the artist.
'Here is exploding energy in a flight across the picture plane. The image is formed by a powerful line-movement, by the vigorous brushstroke, often by the diagonal compositions holding the picture plane in tension... For Husain, the horse seems to stand for super-human forces, powerful not only for its stampeding arrogance, but because of its greater sophistication.' (Geeta Kapur, Husain, Sadanga Series for Vakils, Mumbai, p. 41)
The monumental single horse in the current work fills the entire space with both its physical presence and energised aura. Husain's compositions are always carefully conceived. Here, the animal enters the space at an angle, suggestive of a powerful beast captured in motion, an idea enhanced by the raised, muscular flank and robust torso of the animal. The sinewy neck with its thick mane completes the image of a strong and dynamic horse, 'ageless and immortal' as the artist himself used to say.
Although watercolour was one of Husain's favoured mediums, works of this large size are a rare find. Husain began his career in the 1940s using watercolours, and continued working in this medium for the next decade. After a brief hiatus, he returned to the medium in the 1970s, and by the end of the decade, he begins to paint large format watercolours, especially for his Raj Series (see lot 43 for an example from this series). He enjoyed the immediacy of the medium; its fluidity was in keeping with his quick and spontaneous style of painting and it allowed him the use of vivid colours in a variety shades and tones.
It was also an expression of the artist's personal response to India's recently achieved independence from the British. 'Husain's paths of development are paths towards a new Indian cultural identity. They lead back into the depths of Indian traditional life and art, and into modern art.... Leading forwards, they search for an art whose formal complexities are able to speak intimately to the modern world.... By continuing to paint in watercolour in the early days of Indian independence, and by leading the return to watercolour in the 1970s, Husain is both breaking with and implicitly acknowledging a link to the British. We often wish to forget our difficult historical moments... Husain is unafraid... and turns an imposition into an opportunity by deciding not to avoid watercolour. It is an opportunity both to reclaim western impositions in Indian terms... and it is also an opportunity for him to be himself... He paints in watercolour as an Indian tiger, not as a Cheshire cat.' (Daniel Herwitz, Husain, Mumbai, 1988, p. 19)
# Import duty at 11% will be charged on the hammer price and GST will be applicable on the total amount of the hammer price plus the import duty.
The colours of the original are richer and more vibrant than the catalogue illustration. The paper is gently undulating due to the current style of framing, where all four edges of the paper are exposed. Edges of the paper are deliberately uneven as per the artist's intent. Some minor creasing along the lower edge, one area at centre right edge and a few areas among upper edge. Upper right and lower right corners with small creases and some minor small tears along right edge. Not examined out of frame. Overall good condition.
About The Artist:
MAQBOOL FIDA HUSAIN (1913-2011)