PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE LATE SHERNA ENGINEER
Oil on canvas
19 1/2 x 39 5/8 in. (49.5 x 100.7 cm.)
Signed in Devanagari and Urdu upper left
Originally purchased from Pundole Art Gallery.
'Husain's horses become a vehicle for multiple utterances - aggression, power and protection...the brute strength of horses born and released from fabulous regions mutate in to thunderbolt, energies, phallic and omnipotent.' (Roshan Shahani, Let History Cut Across Me Without Me, New Delhi, 1993, p. 8)
The horse in Husain's pictorial vocabulary has evolved through an amalgamation of varied visual memories; from riding in his grandfather's horse-drawn tonga as a child, to absorbing images of the stylised Duldul horse during annual Muharram processions in Indore, the folk horses from the village of Bankura, and the horse in Chinese painting and sculpture that he saw during his visit to the country in 1952. Combined with his encounters with classical and folk traditions, Husain reformulated these images, adapting them to fit his own purpose as a modern artist.
Of his inspiration for his horses, Husain had said, 'I have not seen these wild animals in the jungle. I have seen them imprisoned in stone on the walls of Khajuraho, Konark, Mahalipuram - the temples of medieval India.' (K. Bikram Singh, Maqbool Fida Husain, New Delhi, 2008, p. 169) Even his encounters with horses at a young age conjured images of gentle and affectionate animals, displaying aristocratic elegance. Yet Husain's horses exude life, they are dynamic beasts, creating a certain frenzied energy on his canvases; a direct contrast to his quiet inspirations.
These horses are nearly always unbridled or galloping, rarely static. They are symbols of power and vitality. Strong, bold lines and thick impasto paint in vivid tones of red, yellow and white capture an explosive energy that bursts through the confines of the canvas. Relying on the uninhibited movement of his brush, Husain captures the movement and vigour of these dignified beasts.
'The horses are rampant or galloping; the manes, the fury, the working buttocks, the prancing legs, and the strong neighing heads with dilated nostrils are blocks of colour which are vivid or tactile or are propelled in their significant progression by strokes of the brush or sweeps of the palette knife. The activity depicted is transformed in the activity of paint.' (Ebrahim Alkazi, M.F. Husain The Modern Artist and Tradition, New Delhi, 1978, p. 3)
About The Artist:
MAQBOOL FIDA HUSAIN (1913 - 2011)